Tigers take on MUS, looking to return favor 9/19/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2014

Tigers take on MUS, looking to return favor

By Angie Ledbetter
Since the non-conference series started in 2009 the South Panola Tigers is wary of the Division II-AA Memphis University Owls. The teams didn’t play each other in 2012 and the Owl’s most recent victory was just last year with a 26-4 final over the Tigers.

The Tigers have been waiting a year to return the favor and they get that chance tonight on their own red and blue turf at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium.

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Entering tonight’s game South Panola (3-0, 2-0 away) is ranked No. 61 nationally and No. 3 in the state by MaxPreps and MUS (3-1, 1-0 away) is ranked No. 365 nationally and No. 11 in Tennessee.

The Owls opened their season on August 22 with a 31-14 loss to Brentwood Academy of Nashville. Brentwood currently stands at 4-0 and has won 10 state championships.

“Brentwood Academy is probably one of the top two teams in that state,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue.

Since that loss MUS downed Kingsbury 47-7, McKinley Ohio 33-20 and last week defeated Liberty Tech Magnet of Jackson Tennessee 30-12.

South Panola is coming off their bye week and Pogue said he thought it came at a good time.
“We had a few guys banged up but hopefully we’ve got all of them well. We worked on ourselves a lot last week trying to improve in some areas fundamentally.”

Pogue’s concern was the momentum the Tigers had after finishing the Meridian game.
“We just hope we don’t lose that momentum but I really feel like the guys will pick up where we left off, be a lot healthier and fresh.”

“MUS is really good and won three straight games. They’re always extremely well coached and have some really talented kids.”

One key player is Drew Richmond a 6-6/305 senior who verbally committed to Ole Miss on September 9. The five star athlete is listed as the No. 1 offensive tackle in Tennessee by 247 Sports.  Richmond had offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Illinois, Louisville, LSU, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest.

“He’s an All-American offensive lineman who’s a big athletic guy and no doubt he’s the vocal point of their offensive line. A lot of stuff works revolves around him and his ability.”

The Owls will not be passing the ball but focusing on their ground attack. They’ll be depending on No. 22 Colton Neel a 5-9/175 senior who’s carried the ball 89 times for 537 yards and making it to the endzone eight times.

“Neel is a runningback who played last year and he’s a really good player.”

Under center will be a new face with No. 5 Tide Faleye, a 5-10/175 freshman.

“He’s inexperienced but very athletic.”

Pogue said, “Looks to me that through four games their goal is to establish a running game and for us to have a chance to win we’ve got to slow that down. That’s our challenge on defense.”

Playing both ways will be No. 8 Tom Fowlkes a 5-9/160 junior wide receiver and plays in the secondary on defense.

“Fowlkes is leading them in receptions offensively and starting at corner on defense so obviously he’s a heck of an athlete.”

Pogue said he didn’t think you could totally stop the Owl’s offense.

“We’ve got to control it and hopefully keep them from making big plays on us. There’s really no secret that we’ve got to tackle well defensively. Offensively we’ve got to move the ball and score some points.”

Comparing the two team’s defense the Tigers have only allowed 50 points and the Owls 70.

“I think they’re similar in some areas. We’ve played good defense in all three games but in the first game we had a couple of mistakes in the secondary but the West Point game and throughout the Meridian game we didn’t give up many points.  Drelan Porter, O’Bryan Goodson, Kasey Hankins and Desmond Lester have had some big nights for us. We have to continue that.”

 According to Pogue MUS has done that also because they gave up some early points with Brentwood but nobody has really scored on them since.

“The Owl’s defensive players are Fowlkes at corner, defensive end Peyton Jones and Richmond is playing a lot as a defensive lineman also.”

Pogue talked about what hurt the team last year when playing MUS.

“We had the chance to go up by 10 but we didn’t take advantage of it so that’s what hurt us. We got behind after that. When you get opportunities you’ve got to score and limit big plays defensively. That’s a big challenge for us this week.”

Pregame show will start at 6:00 PM on FM 100.5 and kickoff is 7:00.  All fans need to come out and support the Tigers. The stands haven’t been at full capacity and last week there were lots of empty seats. The players need the fans there to cheer them on. This is a huge game like every game but MUS fans will pack the visitor’s side no doubt. Show the Tigers how much you’re behind them by making signs on poster boards. Be there and be loud Tiger fans!