NP starts season 2-0 with 2 big wins

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Coach Diffee

NP starts season 2-0 with 2 big wins

By Brad Greer
While it may not have been a thing of beauty, North Panola was more than happy to take a 48-20 home-opening victory over Coahoma County AHS Friday night at a soggy Cougar Field.
Led by quarterback Kenneth Jefferson’s four touchdown passes and 253 all-purpose yards by Sylvonta Oliver, North Panola overcame four turnovers  and a shaky first quarter to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Although gladly accepting win, North Panola head coach Carl Diffee said there is plenty of work to be done before his team is a finished product.
“I felt like we had a good week of practice coming off a big win over Rosa Fort, but the biggest thing for us was we talked about being 1-0 and making sure we took care of the ball and excuted on defense. But we came out flat tonight, the kids were hyped up during pre-game warmups and still came out flat. As coaches you try and guard against that, but sometimes you just don’t know how the kids will come out to play. I hope they learn from it though,” said Diffee.
Coahoma AHS (0-2) struck first after recovery a North Panola fumble on the opening kickoff as Anthony Strong connected with Cornelius Holly on a 13-yard scoring pass at the 9:33 mark to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
The score did not stay that way for long as on the ensueing kickoff, Oliver hit the right sideline and raced 92 yards to paydirt. Rhysonne Bishop ran in the two-point conversion for a 8-6 North Panola lead. Oliver also had punt returns of 65, 22 and 18 yards on the night.
North Panola increased its margin to 16-6 later on in the quarter as Bishop capped off a 44-yard,eight-play drive with a five yard scoring run followed by Jamal Leverson runnig in the two- point conversion. Leverson led the Cougars in rushing with eight carries for 51 yards.
Coahoma AHS  closed the margin to 16-14 on their following series as Corderrius Austin broke away from several would-be Cougar tacklers on his way to 62-yard scoring romp.
That would be as close as the Tigers would get as North Panola scored on three straight possessions to take a 36-14 halftime lead.
Bishop added his second rushing touchdown of the night with a two-yard plunge with Leverson adding the conversion.
After pouncing on a Tiger fumble on the kickoff, Oliver out-jumped his defender for a 51-yard scoring pass from Jefferson to make the score 30-14 after the two-point conversion failed.
North Panola ended the first half in style as Jefferson connected with Jamarvis Echols on a 10-yard pass with no time left on the clock. Echols garnered six receptions for 79 yards.
The Cougars poured it on in the second half as Jefferson tossed his third touchdown pass of the night as he hit Jarvis Echols in stride for a 58-yard strike for a 42-14 lead. Jefferson finished the night 13-of-18 passing for 301 yards to go with seven rushes for 42 yards.
North Panola tacked on its final score with 5:00 minutes left in the game on a Jefferson-to-Jamarvis Echols seven-yard strike with the two-point conversion failing.
Kentavious Larry accounted for Coahoma County’s final score with a 10-yard interception return.
“Our defense works every day at swarming to the ball and even though we missed a few tackles there in the first quarter we played better as the game went on,” said North Panola defensive cordinator Marc Cobb said afterwards.
“We had some mental mistakes and to many penalties, but those can and will be corrected.  Our goal from week-to-week is to stay focused and get better as the season goes on. We have got a tough game next week with Benton County the go to O’Bannon which is never easy. We just looking to improve,” said Cobb.
North Panola’s defense held Coahoma to 187 yards of offense while the Cougar offense chewed up 450 yards on 39 plays for a 11.5 average.
The Cougars ran the ball 22 times for 149 yards with Bishop following Leverson and Jefferson with four carries for 36 yards. Lavonta Towns had one carry for 12 yards.
Jarvis Echols had two receptions for 86 yards while Jonathan Harris caught one pass for 27 yards. Royderius Jackson had one catch for 12 yards.
North Panola hosts Benton County Friday night in a 7 p.m kickoff. The Cougars will have a unexpected open date Sept. 9th as Faulkner cancelled the game.

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