Cougars back on road to Palmer 10/10/2014

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cougars back on road to Palmer

By Myra Bean
After a three-game home stand, North Panola is back on the road for the next two weeks.
Tonight, the Cougars (5-2 overall, 1-0 district) travel just a little ways from home to take on the M. S. Palmer Dragons (0-5-1, 0-1) of Marks in a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Though Palmer is winless, under first year head coach Issac Boose, the Dragons do not mind taking on tougher competition.

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They finished in a draw with Coahoma County to open the season and have dropped the last five games to Rosa Fort, West Tallahatchie, Coahoma Agricultural, Ruleville Central and last week’s district game to Independence.

Last week, Independence shut them out 14-0, but Independence only scored one offensive touchdown. The other was a special teams’ score.

“With one district game, they were stingy. They did force some turnovers,” said Cougar head coach Derek King.

On film, King could see this was a different team from the last two years.

“So we have to prepare ourselves,” he said. “The offense they run is completely different. The defense they run is completely different.

“They run a couple of exotic formations, regularly, which means we are going to have to make sure we have adjustments in place for those,” King added. “For our purposes, we have to be ready for some surprises they may give us because this is a coach none of us have ever coached against. Who knows what he has in his bag that we have never seen?”
Senior Martavius Jones (10) is the quarterback who doubles on the defense.

Sophomore tailback Ishmael Sturdivant (3) is fast, according to King.

“If he gets a toss and gets out on the edge, he is gone,” he said. “Those two, they popped off the screen the most.”

The Cougars are expecting a heavy run game from the Dragons but the Dragons do have some play action pass plays where they took long shots down the field.

“They ran fast and played hard so we know it will be a tough game,” King said. “Last year we played them for homecoming so this year they scheduled us for their homecoming. We know we are going into a dog fight.”

King also expects the opportunity to get some of the less experienced players some game experience.

“Not having a bye week means that we have to find other ways to build depth and stave off injuries as much as possible,” he said. “We are working in a lot of kids in this week. It is not wholesale. It is adding a couple here and there, matching them in with our older players so they can feel protected. That is one way we can be creative and still make sure we have a full roster ready for the game.”

In an update on senior tightend/safety Willie Hibbler, he is home, according to King. Hibbler asked the doctor when he can return to the field and he was told best case scenario would be the first week of playoffs, November 6.

“We are more concerned about his overall health, but he obviously wants to play ball,” King said.