Tigers break into top 25 national rankings 10/31/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2014

Tigers break into top 25 national rankings

By Angie Ledbetter
After logging a 9-0 record, the South Panola Tigers finally see themselves back in the USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings at No. 23 this week.

Head coach Lance Pogue was proud for the team.

“It’s a tribute to the coaching staff and the kids for all the hard work they have put into being the best they can be,” he said.

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The Tigers are in control of their district with a 5-0 record but the 6A Region 1 District Championship is on the line tonight as they travel to Grenada to take on the Chargers (8-2).
The Chargers have only one district loss, along with Southaven. So an upset of South Panola tonight  would leave a three-way tie for the championship.

Grenada opened its season with a 21-16 loss to West Point. They followed with seven wins against Greenwood, Greenville, Kosciusko, Ridgeland, Desoto Central, Tupelo and Horn Lake. Two weeks ago they fell to Southaven 42-7 but bounced back defeating Olive Branch last week 19-14.

“The Chargers have been playing well,” Pogue said. “They lost to Southaven but beat Tupelo. This is a big game for them. If they beat us it’s a three way tie and they know they have a shot at the top.

“If we find a way to beat Grenada we’ll be the No. 1 seed so there’s a lot to play for,” he added. “Every time we play Grenada, it’s always a tough and physical game so we’ll get their best shot.”
On the offense Grenada has 237 points in 10 games. They are using two different quarterbacks with Caleb Morgan a 6’2”, 190-pound junior and Deon Knox, a 6’, 170-pound senior. Morgan has completed 14 of 48 passes for 159 yards with one touchdown and Knox has completed 4 of 14 for 34 yards.

“They don’t throw it much but maybe two or three times a game. You have to be on alert for it because we could go to sleep thinking about the run so much,” Pogue said.

The Chargers have found success on the ground with their running team. They will be relying on running backs junior Davarius Bridges, 5’10”, 195-pound and senior Kesner Spencer, 5’10”, 170-pound who has played a lot for them in the years past.

Bridges has 920 yards on 146 carries with 11 touchdowns. Spencer has carried the ball 98 times for 784 yards and scored 11 times.

“Both of those guys are kind of their ticket and they rotate them in as running back over and over,” Pogue said. “They’re a heavy percentage running team and do a good job with it. They’re similar to LSU as far as style of play.”

Pogue said, “We’ve got to get on blocks and tackle well. They’re going to run the ball right at us.”
Last year Grenada had two linebackers that graduated and signed with University of Memphis. This year they have been really productive also only allowing 165 points.

“Their defense is playing well not giving up many points other than the Southaven game but Southaven can do that to you. I’m not putting a lot of stock in that game.”

Leading the Charger’s defense in tackles is senior linebacker Raheim “Rambo” Avery who has 45 solo and three assists. Junior free safety N’querious Lott has 35 tackles and junior linebacker Tyrus Black has 31 solos and two assists. Senior defensive end Willie Mccaleb has five tackles, three fumbles recoveries, and three pass reflections and caused one fumble.

On special teams senior kicker Grant Martin has made 22 of 27 PATs and four field goals.
Pogue said he hoped to have a big crowd at the game.

“Just hope our fans understand how big of a game this is for us. We’re in the playoffs no matter what seed it’ll be. It’s a playoff type game on the road and a lot for us to play for.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.