SP and Columbus clash for district championship 10/30/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 30, 2015

SP and Columbus clash for district championship

By Myra Bean
Tonight, the 1-6A District champion will be decided as South Panola will take on Columbus in Homecoming 2015.

With 46 alumni classes set to tailgate in the adjacent field, the Tigers (9-0 overall, 5-0 district) expect to put on a good show.

Columbus (7-2; 5-0) is under the direction of two-year head coach Randal Montgomery, formerly of Hazelhurst. Montgomery led Hazlehurst to a couple of state championship titles. South Panola and Columbus have not faced each other since 2012. The last two years Columbus played in 2-6A.

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That was DeAndre Harris senior season and he caught passes for 124 yards and one touchdown that night. Sophomore Darrell Henderson only rushed for 12 yards, but he had 26 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. Senior C. J. Leland had 35 receiving yards and a touchdown. South Panola won 21-14.

“I knew through the years that they were always talented,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue.
On a roster of 90 players, only 18 are seniors.

“Coach Montgomery’s got a lot of good, young players, playing with a lot of confidence. He’s done a great job. They are winning,” Pogue said.

Coming into tonight’s game, Columbus defeated Olive Branch 46-20 last week. Their only two losses were to ranked non-conference teams, Noxubee County and West Point.

The Falcon defense is only allowing 13 points per game. They have scored 382 points and allowed 117.

With three running backs at the helm, Columbus is averaging 269.9 rushing yards per game. They are averaging 99.8 passing yards.

The team is led on the field by junior quarterback C. J. Gholar, No. 6, 5’9”, 153 pounds. Pogue described him as “elusive.” He has completed 57 of 115 pass attempts for 765 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. He has 515 rushing yards on 119 carries and six touchdowns.

One of his favorite backs is No. 8, junior Kylin Hill, 5’11”, 210. He averages 127.7 rushing yards per game. He has already rushed over 1,000 yards at 1,149 on 152 carries and nine rushing touchdowns. He has 19 receptions for 335 yards, three receiving touchdowns.

Last week against Olive Branch, Hill scored four touchdowns.

Hill is also instrumental on special teams. He has 202 kickoff return yards and two kickoff return touchdowns. He has 1,686 all purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns.

The other back for Columbus is No. 28, junior Kendre Conner, 6’, 215 pounds. He has 556 yards on 87 carries and six touchdowns.

“Those three skilled guys are their biggest weapons, but they also have a big offensive line,” Pogue said.

The Columbus defense has 34 sacks on the year and 10 interceptions. The most points given up were 27 points to Kemper County in the season opening 49-27 win.

They lost to Noxubee County 25-8 and to West Point 13-3.

“For whatever the situation has been, he (Montgomery) has found a way to get them going, get them to believing. They are very good, very talented, very good on offense and defense, and have lot of good football players,” Pogue said.

Division Championship
There is some excitement in the air for this game which could be due to both teams being undefeated in the league and South Panola planning an epic homecoming.

Vying for the title of homecoming queen this year are senior maids Katie Hays, Alexis Wright, Haley Reid, Tiarra Gipson and Sierra Coleman. The queen will be crowned at halftime.
“It comes down the winner’s No. 1 seed, the loser’s No. 2 seed,” Pogue said. “Either way, life goes on the next week. Obviously, it is important. Hadn’t had a big game like this in the division in quite some time.”

With all the people in town, Pogue said he hopes the fans will fill up the stadium.

The game will broadcast on WBLE 100.5 FM beginning at 6 p.m. with kickoff at 7 p.m. Video streaming will be available through www.panolian.com click on the SP Tiger Den link to the right or audio stream on the left. Also videostreaming is available through www.sptigerden.com and audio stream thorugh www.panola.com.

Other 1-6A games tonight include Southaven at Desoto Central; Hernando at Olive Branch; and Tupelo at Horn Lake.