Tigers head to North State Championship 11/26/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tigers head to North State Championship

By Angie Ledbetter

What could have been a shut out for the South Panola Tigers ended with the Starkville Yellowjackets scoring with 1:01 left in the game to give the Tigers the 20-6 victory.
South Panola defeated Starkville in the north semi-final round to advance to the north state championship Friday against Tupelo.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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The Tigers earned their 13th win of the season in the final home game of the 2013 season.
Tiger head coach Lance Pogue said, “We knew going into the game we’d have to battle with Starkville because they’re the defending 5A state champions but when you get to the playoffs you about have to battle with everybody.” 

Pogue declared it is a big win for the team.

“We’re one game away from the state championship,” he said. “That’s what you play for and it’s a big opportunity for us. I’m proud of our guys and I’m proud to be playing.  I don’t care who we’re playing because when you’re playing in the north half you’re going to play a good team and that’s part of it.”

Leading rusher Darrell Henderson scored all three touchdowns of the game on one and four-yard runs, and a 48 yard pass from Rip Kirk.
The first touchdown came at the 3:39 mark of the first quarter as Henderson scored from one yard out. Matthew Williams capped the play with the PAT (point after touchdown) for the 7-0 lead.

With 1:34 left in the quarter, on third and nine on Starkville’s  48, Kirk connected with Henderson to lead 14-0 after Williams’ PAT.

Ryan Lee intercepted the ball on the Tigers’ 24 yard line with 3:13 left in the first half. The Tigers were not able to convert that turnover into points and punted.

The Yellowjackets had driven the ball down to the Tiger’s 35 when Donald Twilley intercepted and returned it 68 yards to the four before being forced out bounds.

With 13 seconds remaining in the half, Henderson scored what turned out to be the last touchdown of the night for the Tigers. The Tigers took a 20-0 lead into halftime after the extra point attempt was blocked.

With 3:14 left in the game, the Tigers had a fourth and one on the Starkville 29 and came up short.

Five plays and 71 yards later the Yellowjackets avoided the shutout when Princeton Jones connected with A. J. Brown on a 61-yard pass with 1:01 left in the game. The extra point attempt failed as the snap was fumbled.

Oluwain Hoskins was the leading rusher of the night with 70 yards on 15 carries. Henderson carried the ball 25 times for 66 yards with his longest at 19. Roosevelt Jones carried the ball three times for 29 yards with his longest being 25. Tavian Bibbs had three carries for six yards.
Kirk completed five of eight passes for 75 yards.

Henderson had three receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown. Antavion Reed had one reception for 26 yards and Cole Rotenberry had one for two yards.

 Kirk also had eight punts for 251 yards with the longest being 47 that gave him an average of 31.4 for the night.

The Tigers logged 239 total yards while Starkville totaled 196 yards.

Tigers had eight first downs, no fumbles and five penalties for 35 yards. The Yellowjackets had eight first downs, two fumbles but recovered one and four penalties for 30 yards.

On defense Javon Norris led the Tigers with five tackles and one sack. Other defensive players include, Lindsay five tackles, one pass deflection, one fumble recovery; Anfernee Benson, five tackles; Gabriel Lloyd, three tackles, six pass deflections; Brady Smith, three tackles, two pass deflections; Twilley, two tackles, two pass deflections, one interception; Ryan Lee, two tackles, two pass deflections, one interception; Stephen Sanford, two tackles, two pass deflections, caused one fumble; Ephraim Kitchens, two tackles, two pass deflections; Quandez Lee had one tackle, one pass deflection; Matthew Davis, K.D. Chapman and Turner Rotenberry, one tackle each.

Twilley said, “The interception was big for me because I’ve been wanting one since the first game. I just listened to Coach Easley all week. He told me to just read the receiver and I did and it was there.”

The Tigers will travel to Tupelo for the north half championship. Tupelo defeated Madison Central 27-15 to advance. In the south part of the state Meridian defeated Brandon 30-28 and Oak Grove defeated Petal 38-28.

Lindsay said, “It’s a blessing to be back where we came from and an honor to be going back again with everybody healthy. We’re going to pray for John Ellis and hope he can be back with us.”

Norris said, “My sack was great but I could’ve had more. Starkville came here and gave their best effort. When we go to Tupelo it’s just going to be another great competition for both teams who’s going to give it their all on the line and may the best team win.”

“Our guys will be focused because they want an opportunity to play for the state championship so we’ll have our preparation in line and they’ll still have time to enjoy their vacation.”

Even though it’s Thanksgiving break the team will continue to practice each day. They’ll practice in the mornings and be off in the afternoons to enjoy their holiday. All of them will enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together also.