Published 12:00 am Friday, September 25, 2015

Though the coaches and players would say defeating MUS and the other teams this year was a total team effort, individual play by Turner Rotenberry Friday was a key factor. Rotenberry scored the opening kickoff return touchdown and had three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. The Tigers defeated MUS 49-29 to increase win streak to 19 games. The Panolian photo by McKell Jenkins

Tigers pluck Owls 49-28

By Myra Bean

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Turner “The Burner” Rotenberry could have a new nickname as he burned the Memphis University Owls for a kickoff return and three interceptions, one a pick 6 in route to a 49-28 South Panola victory Friday night.

South Panola tagged MUS for 691 total all-purpose yards including 350 rushing, 96 passing, 156 kickoff returns and 89 in interception returns. In addition to Rotenberry’s three interceptions, senior Kenon Johnson intercepted a pass and returned it for 35 yards and Taiwan Obey also intercepted a pass for a one-yard return.

Rotenberry’s interceptions covered 53 yards, one was returned 45 yards for a touchdown. He also returned the opening kickoff 91 yards to start the game. 

“That was the second opening return of the year. That’s big,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue. 

Rotenberry has five interceptions on the early season. He said it felt good to realize some of his goals for this season came against a team like MUS.

“MUS is a good team,” Rotenberry said. “In the summer like I said I want to work on getting faster and stronger. On my breaks, Kenon and I have been working with the corners. Our corners are doing a heck of a job. We just work hard every day in practice trying to get better.”

Rotenberry also appeared in the offensive lineup in the “posse play” to give the defense a four-receiver look. 

“I’m just the decoy,” Rotenberry said. “They will throw it to D.D. (Demetrius Market), Cole (Rotenberry) or Donald (Twilley).”

With the win the Tigers (4-0) increased their win streak to 19-games.

With the scout report from MUS, the number of points the Tigers scored is a little surprising. Pogue was not happy giving up the 28 points.

“We had to score a lot of points,” Pogue said. “I certainly don’t like giving up 28. We are on a mission in emergency mode to get that fixed. There are a couple of things we broke down on. Give them credit. They made it happen.”

The Game

After that initial opening kickoff touchdown return, South Panola stalled on all three possessions in the first quarter. On MUS’s first possession, they tied the game at seven on a 20-yard pass with 8:57 on the clock. The PAT capped a seven-play, 66-yard drive.

On an 11-play, 78-yard drive, MUS took the lead on a one-yard run with 10:52 left in the second quarter. With the PAT, MUS led 14-7.

The Tigers did not take long to tie the game as Jamian Johnson scored his first touchdown of the season on a 35-yard run 37 seconds later. The three-play, 67-yard drive was aided by a 22-yard run by quarterback Donald Twilley and a 10-yard run by Johnson.

On MUS’s next possession, Kenon Johnson intercepted his first pass of the year and returned it 35 yards to the Owl’s 10-yard line with 9:52 left in the half. 

The Tigers scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead into halftime as senior kicker Steven Collins was a perfect seven-for-seven PATs on the evening.

Twilley scored on a five-yard run after the interception with 9:15 to go in the half to cap a two-play, 10-yard drive.

A couple of minutes later, Turner Rotenberry intercepted the pass with 7:09 left on the Tiger nine-yard line. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs.

The Tigers got the ball back on their own 31 on a punt and capped a three-play, 69-yard drive on a two-yard run by Jamian Johnson for his second touchdown of the evening with 2:22 left in the half. The drive was aided by a 65-yard run by Twilley to the four-yard line.

Twilley was the leading rusher and receiver. He had 165 rushing yards on nine carries and one touchdown. He completed one pass for 24 yards and three receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown. On defense he had one pass deflection.

MUS closed out the half with a one-yard run with nine seconds remaining in the half.

The only score for either team in the third quarter was Rotenberry’s interception return (pick 6) with 3:22 left in the quarter. Collins’ PAT gave the Tigers a 35-21 lead.

South Panola added to its lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass by Twilley with 8:57 left in the game. Collins’ PAT gave the Tigers the 42-21 lead to cap a six-play, 76-yard drive.

MUS punted its next possession but South Panola fumbled and MUS recovered on the Tiger 13-yard line. MUS capitalized on the mistake and good field position with a 13-yard touchdown pass and PAT to cut the score to 42-28 Tigers.

Demetrius Market scored the final touchdown on an eight-yard run with 1:06 left in the game. The PAT capped a four-play, 50-yard drive which was aided by a 42-yard run by Twilley.


Pogue started the game at quarterback completing seven of 15 passes for 72 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Also carrying the ball were Oluwain Hoskins, 74 yards on 11 carries; Jamian Johnson, 49 yards on 10 carries, two touchdowns; Market, 40 yards on six carries, one touchdown; and Quadarius Shivers, 26 yards, five carries.

On the receiving corps were Love McBride, 24 yards, one catch; Market, 17 yards, two catches; Jordan Strong, nine yards, one catch; and Stevon Hill, seven yards, one catch.

On defense, Kentravious Benson led in tackles with nine, one for lost yards and one pass deflection, followed by Drelan Porter with five, one for lost yards and one pass deflection. With four tackles were Jaylon Ford, D. J. Hall and Derrick Sanford.

The Tigers will be on the road Friday to open the district season at Horn Lake at 7 p.m. The coach’s call-in show with Pogue will air on Thursday at 6 p.m. on WBLE, 100.5 FM.