Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2014

Starkville took advantage of South Panola’s inability to score while in the red zone in the first half to go ahead 13-0 at halftime.

South Panola revamped during halftime and went on a spree. Junior quarterback Tyler Pogue connected with junior receiver Cole Rotenberry on a 10-yard touchdown with 5:51 to go in the third quarter. Steven Colins kicked the extra point to cut the lead 13-7.

Then Starkville fumbled its next possession and Drelan Porter recovered with 4:38 left in the quarter. Demetrius Market capitalized on the turnover by catching a pass from Pogue down the middle and sprinting for a 30-yard touchdown run with 3:15 left int he quarter. Collins’ PAT gave South Panola its first lead of the game 14-13.

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Starkville retook the lead 19-14 in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard pass with 11:49 left in the game, but the two-point pass attempt failed as Ephraim “Chevron” Kitchen broke up the pass.

South Panola retook the lead for good on a 32-yard pass from Pogue to Kitchen with 8:58 left to cap a nine-play 80-yard drive. Pogue ran in the two-point conversion for the 22-19 lead.

Starkville fumbles the kickoff and South Panola’s Anfernee Benson recovers on the Starkville 48-yard line but the Tigers could not convert. After Starkville got the ball back, they were forced to punt. On the punt return, South Panola’s Cole Rotenberry picked up the ball and ran it 62-yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 29-19 lead after Collins kicks the extra point with 3:23 left in the game.

Starkville was not finished as they started on the 50 and on one rush and six passing plays, scored on a 12-yard pass with 2:15 left in the game. The extra point was good to cut the Tiger lead to 29-26.

Starkville was trying to get the ball back from the Tigers in the last two minutes, but on a halfback pass, after a sweep from Pogue, Darrell Henderson found Cole Rotenberry on a 45-yard pass with 1:52 left in the game. Collins’ PAT gave the Tigers a 36-26 lead.

The passing game failed Starkville in that last minute and with 47 seconds left in the game, they turned the ball over on downs for the last time and South Panola took a knee to run out the clock.

South Panola will make its 15th trip to the state championship Friday against reigning 6A state champion Oak Grove who won over Brandon 35-36 after Brandon missed a field goal as time expired. The game will be played at 7 p.m. in David Wade Stadium on the campus of Mississippi State University.