Cougars play to stay alive 10/30/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 30, 2015

Cougars play to stay alive

By Ike House
The North Panola Cougars will play for a playoff berth to avoid postseason elimination tonight against the Holly Springs Hawks.

Seniors will be recognized at 6:30 p.m. in the last regular season home game. This group of seniors has not lost a game to Holly Springs since they have been in high school and are looking to finish with a clean sweep.

“We’ve spoken to our seniors specifically about making sure they solidify a legacy for themselves. I’m not sure which class in North Panola’s past may have accomplished the feat of making the playoffs every year they were in high school. I think our seniors take pride in that,” Head Coach Derek King said.

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“Moreover, I think our team wants to keep playing, and everyone understands the gravity of Friday’s game. In terms of football, we just have to control against negative plays on offense and have relentless pursuit on defense.”

Last week against Independence, the Cougars ran the ball at will and did so mostly all season. They will look to continue to grind outs its run game this week.

Two Cougars backswho have done most of the work all season are Justin Connor and Trai Sanders. The team also looks for spot duty from backs Kiron Covington, Ankeyvias Harris and Lavonte Towns.

“Our entire group of skill guys is ready to perform on Friday. While we have had some great individual performances from the two senior backs, it has been amazing to see the growth of Kiron Covington and Ankeyvias Harris,” King said.

“They have stepped into the role of getting spot carries and playing multiple receiver positions as well,” King added. “They have scored in both roles, and this only adds to our depth. Look for them to continue their dual assault on Holly Springs’ defense.”

With a big game and playoff hopes on the line, freshman sensation K. J. Jefferson will look to help lead the Cougars and bring forth a third seed in the playoffs.

“There’s no pressure on K. J. He’s never lost to Holly Springs. No one on our team has ever lost to Holly Springs. K. J. just needs to approach this game similarly to last week,” King said “We remove pressure from K. J. by reducing mental mistakes, running the football effectively, and executing crisp routes consistently, especially on third down.”

Defensively, the Cougars buckled down last week and did not give up many points. They contained the Wildcat offense that was winning a lot of games this season. They will look to step up once more and shut down a struggling team that has not been able to put up a district win this season.

“Momentum swings and short fields for our offense are always key for our defense. They are trying to fill up the goal board and force turnovers on every snap,” King added “Our defensive guys will be ball hawks when we play Holly Springs. Get your stat sheet ready because our boys are primed and ready to fill every single box.”

The other 2-3A game on tap tonight include Water Valley at Palmer.

Charleston played at Independence last night.