North Panola downs Palmer 29-18

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019

By Brad Greer

MARKS – Even on a night  where things are not clicking, good teams find a way to win.

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Despite over close to 150 yards in penalties, four turnovers and some highly questionable officiating, the North Panola High School Cougars outlasted a scrappy M.S. Palmer team 29-18 Friday night in Marks.

Junior quarterback Cadarrius Pride shook off a  early hand injury to rush for 201 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns to help guide the Cougars break open a slim 7-6 lead after three quarters.

Davonte Pratcher and Lemekin Walls added one rushing touchdown each as the North Panola offense chewed up 497 yards rushing. Walls contributed with 11 carries for 159 yards while the 5-foot-6; 200 pound bowling ball Pratcher chipped in with 113 yards on 12 totes.

While happy to come away with a victory, Cougar head coach Carl Diffee proclaimed there is more than a lot to improve on in the coming week.

“We fought and scrapped all night, but we hurt ourselves. I thought we had some great individual efforts tonight. Cadarrius fought through a hand injury early so we limited on what we could do in the passing game. But he wanted the ball in his hands and ran hard and showed some heart tonight,” said Diffee.

“That was the worst officiated football game I have ever been a part of. The calls they made tonight were for the most part absurd and it is a shame that the MHSAA would let officials not be trained better in the knowledge of the rules. This was an absolute miserable affair tonight and this tape will be sent to the state headquarters in Jackson you can rest assured of that,”  Diffee said.

In the fourth quarter as North Panola led 21-12, Palmer ran three consecutive plays with 12 players on the field. The last play resulted in a 59-yard touchdown pass to close the margin to 21-18.

North Panola kept its composure and iced the game with a six-play, 60-yard drive capped off a Walls’ touchdown with 12 seconds remaining.

“Coach Diffee told us a halftime we needed somebody to step up and be a leader and I felt like I had to do my part in the second half. Every person on this team has a role and mine tonight was to provide some kind of a spark or a big play,” said Walls, who’s 56-yard jaunt  in the first quarter set up a Pratcher’s one-yard scoring run to give North Panola a 7-6 lead.

Palmer took its first lead at 12-7 early in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumbled punt at North Panola’s 38-yard line.

The Cougars retook the advantage on the following drive with Pride following his veteran offensive line into the end zone on a 16-yard run. Pride then called his own number to plow in for the two-point conversion for a 15-12 lead with 8:49 remaining.

The ‘JackBoy’ defense made its presence known on the ensuing Palmer drive as Roderick Taylor intercepted a pass that set up Pride’s nine-yard scoring run to give the Cougar a 23-12 cushion after Walls converted the two-point conversion.

Pride was 4-of-12 passing for 54 yards on the night.

Carl Robinson caught three passes to lead the North Panola receiving corps while Stephen Edwards added one catch. Alex Gross contributed with 24 yards on three carries.

North Panola hosts Rosa Fort Friday in 7 p.m kickoff.