South Panola and Oxford staged a classic back and forth playoff football game full of big play after big play, but in the end it was the Chargers who will advance to round two of the North 6A state playoffs after pulling off a thrilling 35-28 victory over the Tigers Friday night at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium.
With the win Oxford (8-4) earns a rematch against Madison Central in the second round next Friday. Madison Central defeated the Chargers 48-7 in the last week in the regular season finale.
South Panola finished its season at 8-4.
With the score tied 28-28 and South Panola having all the momentum after a Julius Pope nine-yard touchdown run with 3:00 remaining in the game, Oxford quarterback Micheal Harvey hit Cashe Shows on a slant pattern on 3rd-and-14 with Shows racing 70 yards for the game-winner.
South Panola, who at one time trailed 28-7, had one last gasp only to have Elijah Wadley intercept a pass to seal the win.
The loss overshadowed a career best passing night from South Panola quarterback David Hubbard who threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver John Blockmon caught six passes for 109 yards that included a 34-yard TD strike from Hubbard. Ethan Johnson added four receptions for 105 yards and a 69-yard pass in the second quarter to account for the Tigers first score.
Julius Pope rushed the ball 16 times for 126 yards while adding three catches for nine yards and five tackles on defense while fighting through leg cramps throughout the game.
South Panola outgained Oxford 476-315 in total yardage
Oxford staggered the Tigers with three scores on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead before South Panola answered with the Hubbard -to-Johnson connection at the 9:32 mark of the second quarter.
The Chargers tacked on another touchdown with 1:32 remaining to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Trailing 28-13 after three quarters, South Panola made its charge as Hubbard punched in a two-yard scoring run to cap off a nine-play, 75-yard drive to cut the deficit to 28-21 at the 8:59 mark. After forcing Oxford to punt on the following series, the Tigers tied the game on Pope’s run and Connor West’s PAT.
“We hurt ourselves when we got behind early in the first quarter, but we never blinked and found a way to get back into the game and gave us a chance to win, but unfortunately they made one or two bigger plays than we did at the end,” said South Panola head coach Ricky Woods.
Seandun Clark caught three passes for 61 yards while Micheal Johnson,Jr. added two receptions for 13 yards. James Scott registered one catch for 13 yards. South Panola leading rusher Dee Perteet hobbled his way to seven carries for 18 yards and one reception for 18 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, MoTrell Chapman led the way with 11 tackles while senior Jalen Kirby had eight stops. Anione Wright garnered five stops.
Photo: John Blockmon caught six passes for 109 yards that included a 34-yard TD strike from Hubbard. (Andy Young)