Tupelo comes from behind to win over SP

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tupelo comes from behind to win over SP

Tupelo’s Jordan Jernigan pushed his way forward with the ball but South Panola’s Wade Thornton was the last line of defense as he snagged his foot and wouldn’t let go until Jernigan went down Friday night.
The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

By Brad Greer
There are certain situations where one play can turn a game around.
Case in point where South Panola seemingly had all the momentum on their side by holding a 21-10 lead over Tupelo in the closing seconds of the first half in a key district showdown Friday at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium.
As Tupelo lined up for a short field goal with three seconds remaining, Golden Wave head coach Trent Hammond dove into his bag of tricks and called for a fake field goal.
The gamble paid off as holder Peyton Puckett lofted a 14-yard touchdown pass to Trip Wilson that was followed by successful two-point conversion to make the score 21-18 at halftime. The rest they say is history.
Tupelo went on to hold South Panola scoreless in the half while adding a touchdown and two field goals to come away with a 31-21 victory over the Tigers to remain undefeated at 8-0 and 4-0 in District 1-6A. South Panola fell to 2-2 and 6-3 overall.
After a 26-yard third quarter field goal off the foot of Josh Smith tied the game at 21-21, the Golden Wave took the lead for good 28-21 early in the fourth quarter by capitalizing on a South Panola turnover when Jaquerrious Williams scored on a two-yard run with 11:32 left to play.
Tupelo added to its margin on Smith’s 37-yard field goal to make the score 31-21 at the 6:14 mark.
Any South Panola comeback fell on deaf ears after turning the ball over on downs with 2:56 left in the game. Turnovers yet again plagued Tigers as they turned the ball over four times including three interceptions. In their three losses, South Panola has turned the ball over 11 times.
“I feel like we played one of best games of the year, but you can’t turn the ball over four times against an outstanding team like Tupelo and expect to win,” said Tiger head coach Ricky Woods.
Trailing 3-0 early in the first quarter, the South Panola defense made its presence felt as Xavier Lofton picked off a Tupelo pass on the Golden Wave 29 that set up a Patrick Shegog-to-Quin Bradford 13-yard strike with Blaine Ware booting the PAT.
South Panola added to its lead in the second quarter as Shegog connected with Kanoda Lewis on a 20-yard pass over the middle as Ware added the PAT for a 14-3 Tiger lead. The drive was aided by Lofton’s fumble recovery on the South Panola 27-yard line.
Lewis led South Panola in receiving with a season-high 128 yards on six receptions.
The Golden Wave cut the margin to 14-10 as Williams plowed his way in from six yards out with 2:00 left before halftime.
The score looked like it would stay that way heading into the lockerroom as the Tigers started their initial series on their own five yard line, but Derrick Cunningham had other ideas.
One the first play from scrimmage, the junior running back busted a 91-yard run before being chased down at the Tupelo four. Shegog then scored on the next play with Ware adding the PAT for a 21-10 Tiger lead.
Cunningham led South Panola in the rushing category with 135 yards on 11 carries. Shegog added 13 carries for 57 yards while Bradford chipped in with two carries for seven yards and the 13-yard touchdown reception.
South Panola rushed 26 times for 199 yards with Shegog passing for 229 yards on 17-of-35 attempts. Tupelo tallied 503 total yards including 284 yards on the ground.
Barry Flowers and John Railey had four catches each for 38 and 32 yards respectfully. Atarie Bobo added two catches for 18 yards. A.J. Norwood punted twice for a 32 yard average.
Wade Thornton paced the South Panola defense with 11 tackles. Lakendrick Willingham chipped in with 10 stops and a quarterback sack. Robert Hentz and Jaqualin Gillespie registered seven tackles.
Jordan Strong contributed with six tackles while Quin Benson and Alexander Jordan contributed with four stops. Terry Bishop also had three tackles. Sophomore defensive back. Caleb Grayer broke up three passes.
South Panola travels to Southaven Friday in a district matchup.

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