Tigers overpower Oak Grove in overtime to win 11th title 12/9/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tigers overpower Oak Grove in overtime to win 11th title

By Angie Ledbetter
In 2013, South Panola’s Darrell Henderson went out of the north half game at halftime with an injury and thus ended his season.

In 2014, he took the ball 10-yards to score the winning touchdown in overtime in the state championship game against Oak Grove Sunday night to put a stamp on his record-breaking year.

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The South Panola Tigers (15-0) held off a high-potent Oak Grove offense to take their 11th state title, 27-21 in overtime.

With 1:40 left in the game, Oak Grove tied the game at 21 when quarterback Cameron Myers scored on a 24-yard run and threw to Deonte Spates for the two-point conversion.

In overtime, Oak Grove was on offense first but an interception by Demetrivs Market ended the Warriors scoring drive on third down from the five.

South Panola only needed one down as the Tiger O-Train (offensive line) opened a hole and Dandy Dozen Henderson sprinted into the end zone untouched for the winning score.

History Making
The 2014 6A state championship football game will go down in the history books for many reasons. 

First, it was moved from Veterans Memorial Stadium to Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State University.

Second, it was played on Sunday after play was postponed from Friday night due to lightning.
South Panola got off to a good start in the game Friday night when junior quarterback Tyler Pogue found Cole Rotenberry on a 50-yard touchdown pass and Steven Collins kicked the extra point with 7:27 left in the first quarter. Then the unimaginable began.

As South Panola prepared to kickoff after the touchdown, the power went out when a transformer blew on campus and Davis Wade Stadium fell dark. Fans turned it into a party and used cell phones for lights. When power was restored an hour later, a severe thunderstorm moved into the area.

The game was twice set to restart at 9:45 and 10:30 but continued lightening kept strikes, the game moved to Sunday. 

Many fans returned to watch the game Sunday bringing the same atmosphere of excitement with them.

Game Resumes
The game resumed with 7:27 left in the first quarter.

Oak Grove tied the game on a 26-yard run with 2:05 left in the first quarter and went ahead on a 36-yard field goal with six seconds left in the first half. South Panola had missed a 29-yard field goal late in the second quarter.

After being down 10-7 at the half, Tiger head coach Lance Pogue came out in the second half with a counter play drawn up for Henderson.

Henderson was put in the wildcat most of the game to get some action on the run going, according to Pogue. With 6:25 left in the third quarter, the Tigers used their air attack when Tyler Pogue connected with Market on a 27-yard touchdown. Collins added the PAT giving the Tigers a 14-10 lead.

“We had a really good pass/rush all night that made Myers antsy,” said Pogue. “Also that interception was the first time we brought pressure all night and Myers threw it right to us.”
Oak Grove punted with 4:50 on the clock and South Panola fumbled with  Oak Grove recovering.

The Warriors took over on the Tigers’ 34 when Myers was sacked by Drelan Porter, pushing Oak Grove back. With a third and 20 on the Tiger 44, Myers was picked off by Ephraim Kitchen with 3:45 left on the clock.

On first down, Henderson broke to his right, cut back to the middle and outran the defense for 76-yards for the 21-10 lead after the PAT.

Oak Grove’s Brennan Sobiesk kicked a 22-yard field goal with 6:48 left in the game to cut the lead 21-13.

A wild turn of events took place the last three minutes of regulation. With 1:56 left on the clock Turner Rotenberry intercepted Myers’ pass but the interception was negated on a Tiger pass interference penalty. Tiger fans were not happy with the officiating the whole night.

After having four incomplete passes due to the Tiger defense, a Myers’ touchdown and Spates two-point conversion tied the game.

Coach’s Comments
Pogue told the team after the win that they, above all else, deserved to be the champions.
“This is two times in a row that we’ve been to Starkville and had to fight it out in the second half,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough, coaches and players, for all of your effort and all your beliefs. Starting the year people wrote us off, crowned some other people earlier and said it’s no way.
“Mid-season we started to get it going and built some momentum,” Pogue continued. “We got a few guys hurt and some guys stepped in. In the playoffs we got them back and we won the way you’ve got to win. We played defense and forced turnovers all through the playoffs. The offense ran the ball and hit some big plays and our kicking game was special. That’s how you win and I’m proud of that.” 

Pogue told the players and coaches that they were a team that had a lot of players with a lot of heart, determination and will power.

“They’ve played together and I think we’ll finish the year high up in the nation,” Pogue said. 
It was South Panola’s 15th trip to the title game. It was Pogue’s fifth championship as head coach where he had won in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. This year joins the other title years: 1993, 1998, 2003-2006.

“I’ve been blessed to have great players and great coaches,” he said. “Football has been good to me, my life and to my family. I’m really happy about them all tonight.”

Darrell Henderson
Henderson finished the game with 24 carries for 193 yards with two touchdowns. He had one kickoff return for 13 yards.

“Henderson has had a great career,” Pogue said. “Unfortunately he had one called back earlier on a holding or he would’ve had more. It was great the way he finished his career with that last touchdown. He’s the all-time leading rusher and he put a stamp on it tonight.”

SP Defense
The defense played awesome, according to Pogue.

“They forced four turnovers and interceptions. They moved it some but we came up with some stops when it was critical,” Pogue said.

Henderson said it took hard work and dedication to win the game.

“We had to get ourselves together because we knew that the way they were set up, they were running,” he said. “We had to come out and play ball.”

Henderson was determined not to end his senior campaign with a loss.

“I knew I wasn’t going out with a loss my last season and I was getting another championship,” he said. “I feel I did my best tonight on a bad ankle and left it all on the field tonight. It feels good to leave South Panola as one of the big names also.”

Oluwain Hoskins also ran the wildcat formation when Henderson was taking a break. Hoskins had eight carries for 36 yards. Cole Rotenberry had one for 12 yards.

Tyler Pogue was six of nine for 112 yards with two touchdowns and one sack.

Receivers were Cole Rotenberry, two receptions for 62 yards; Market, three receptions for 36 yards; Reginald Morris, one for 17 yards; and Donald Twilley, one for three yards.

Market had two interception returns for 28 yards. Cole Rotenberry had three punt returns for 13 yards. Kitchen had two kickoff returns for 22 yards.

Leading the Tigers defense were Anfernee Benson and Derrick Sanford. Benson had six tackles and one sack while Sanford had six tackles and one pass deflection.

Others contributing on defense include Ryan Lee, five tackles, one pass deflection; Kamdon Edwards, four tackles, one interception, two pass deflections; Drelan Porter, four tackles, two sacks; Desmond Lester, four tackles, one sack; and Turner Rotenberry, four tackles and one pass deflection.

Rounding out the defense were: Kitchen, three tackles, one interception; Twilley,  two tackles, six pass deflections; Quandarious Hamilton, two tackles; Ladarrius Rudd, one tackle, one sack; Stevon Hill, O’Bryan Goodson, Taiwan Obey and Chance Griffin, one tackle each. Market had two interceptions.

South Panola finished the game with 363 total yards, 15 first downs, six penalties for 63 yards and two fumbles.

Oak Grove had 323 yards with 17 first downs, one penalty for 13 yards and no fumbles.
Myers was 14 of 32 for 239 yards with one touchdown and five sacks. He had 24 carries for 54 yards with one touchdown.