NP ends historic season in North Half Championship
By Ike House
North Panola’s bid for a trip to the state championship came to a screeching halt as they fell to Yazoo County in north half play Friday, 58-26.
Both teams entered the contest undefeated with identical 13-0 records.
Yazoo County made a statement early as they came out of the gate swinging with a 65-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mississippi’s Mr. Football, Kenny Gainwell. They missed the PAT and led 6-0 but not for long.
On the following drive Kenneth Jefferson showed some of his magic and led the Cougars on a drive that put points up for them. He ended the drive with a dagger to Sylvonta Oliver from 12 yards out. North Panola took the lead with the two-point conversion, 8-6. The Cougars stopped the Panthers’ next drive and forced a punt but the Cougars were put into the same predicament on the next drive.
The Panthers went on a quick strike drive that ended with a 52-yard touchdown run from Gainwell. The two-point conversion gave Yazoo the 14-8 lead.
The Cougars did not score on their next drive and gave the Panthers the ball back with a chance to score. The drive stalled, aided by a big Cougar sack on third down.
When the Cougars got the ball back, Jefferson found Tyler Shorter for a 65-yard touchdown reception. The score remained tied at 14 as the two-point attempt failed.
On the next drive the Panthers got the ball moving and tried to go deep but Oliver caught his sixth interception of the season. The Cougars were unable to capitalize as they stalled on the drive.
The Panthers retook the lead after that drive with a 14-yard run from Gainwell. With the two-point conversion, Yazoo County took a 22-14 lead.
The Cougars cut the lead to two, 22-20, on a five-play drive with big plays from Jefferson and Oliver. They capped the drive with a Jefferson to Jarvis Echols 26-yard touchdown reception. The two-point attempt failed.
The Cougars tried to hold off the Panthers before the half but they could not.
The Panthers drove the length of the field and scored on a four-yard run for the 29-20 lead after the PAT.
After the half, the Panthers scored 23 unanswered points to lead 52-20 in the fourth quarter. The Cougars scored again late in the fourth quarter on a Jefferson touchdown. Jamarvis Echols found Jefferson on a seven-yard touchdown off a double reverse pass. The two-point attempt failed and the score stood 52-26. The Panthers got the last say as they scored from two yards out with their reserves in and led 58-26 after attempting a fake field goal.
The Cougars finished their season 13-1 as they made history with their record and also by making it to the north half for the first time in school history.
Jefferson went 14 of 25 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He had nine carries for 137 yards and a catch for seven yards and a touchdown.
Leading the rushing attack for the Cougars was Clarence Taylor with six carries for 37 yards. Another rusher was Oliver with five carries for 30 yards.
Leading the receiving corps was Shorter with three catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Other receivers were Carl Robinson, two catches, 56 yards; Oliver, three catches, 32 yards; Jarvis Echols one catch, 26 yards, one touchdown; and Jarmarvis Echols, two catches, 22 yards.