NP vs Okolona

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2013

Cougars look to make turn around from last 2 weeks

By Myra Bean

Getting “things turned around from the last two weeks” has been the goal of the North Panola Cougar team in practice this week, according to head coach Derek King.
The Cougars (1-3) will travel northeast to take on the 4-2A Okolona Chieftains (2-1). Okolona is undefeated at home this season as they opened with a 31-0 shutout of Houlka and defeated Houston 14-6 the next week.

Houston held them scoreless in the first half and led 6-0. Okolona scored its 14 points in the third quarter and both teams were scoreless in the final quarter.

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The Chieftains lone loss was on the road at Blytheville, Ark. Where they lost 26-14.
Okolona is in the district with East Webster, Eupora, Bruce and Calhoun City. North Panola will travel to Calhoun City next Friday night.

Leading the Chieftains is the dual quarterback threat of junior Tyson Eddie, No. 2 and senior Jacolbi Heard, No. 9.

“They have a lot of speed,” King said. “Both are really good with the ball.”

On film, King describes an “aggressive” defense. He used the term havoc a few times in relation to the Chieftains.

“They are a heavy blitz team which obviously creates a lot of havoc,” he said. “We have to make sure our blocking schemes for running are good and make sure our protection schemes are right for passing. They are a 3-3 stack team. They will load the box up.

“We saw on film where they put even nine people in the box,” King added. “They will try to dare us to throw. No. 1 (junior Dequinn Babbit) is a really good nose tackle and 31 (senior Terry Rogers) is a really good linebacker. They create a lot of havoc in the backfield.

King also said Okolona was a very “opportunistic team” in that they run hard, pursue from the backside on defense and force turnovers.

“They are looking to strip, knock the ball out, intercept. They will get the ball,” he said.
In turning around the 75-26 loss to Hernando and the 50-14 loss to Ripley last week, the Cougar coaching staff emphasized ball protection in practice.

“We really got a good scout look with a lot of guys in the box. On offensive scout, we got our fastest guys back there and let them go and really give a good look to our defense. We have switched up some things as far as practice and are getting a lot more reps and individual times on technique,” King said.

After being handed those big losses, King said the team has learned that no matter what schemes they put in defensively, they have to be able to tackle. Offensively, King said, no matter what they try to do, protecting the ball is of utmost importance.

“One thing we have seen is big plays are great, but we have to be able to sustain drives, give our defense a longer field to have to defend,” King said. “We will really hone in on scaling back some things schematically and focusing on what we can do well to start building ourselves to where we need to be after our non-district schedule is done.”