South Panola excites fans at jamboree

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, August 24, 2022

South Panola Tigers football fans got a preview of the 2022 team last Friday at Lafayette High in Oxford. The Tigers outplayed the Commodores in all areas of the game, and came away on the top of a 26-14.

South Panola, under the direction of first-year head coach Brooks Oakley, played with an enthusiasm not seen on a Tigers sideline in recent years.

The scoring started with a special teams score when the punt return team blew through the offensive line allowing for a blocked punt that was taken into the endzone.

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The Tigers outgained the Commodores in both ground and passing yardage. Both teams had an interception, and each gave up a couple of long offensive plays.

Mindful that the two-quarter contest was a scrimmage that would be coached differently on both sidelines if the final score counted, South Panola fans remained encouraged by the team’s performance and hopeful for a return to championship football.

Coach Oakley, also, was happy with the entirety of the team’s efforts, although he reminded players after the contest that improvements are needed before the season’s games begins.

“I like our guys,they have worked for two weeks. I just told them that it’s never quite as good as it seems coming out of these games if you win by two touchdowns or as bad as it seems if you lose this jamboree,” Oakley said. ”We will figure out what we’re good at and what we need to work on, but these guys will come to work, there’s no doubt about that.”

Asked about the energy and physical play of the defense, Oakley agreed the group seemed faster and hit harder. “They’ve been like that all year. It’s actually been hard for us offensively,”

“The linebackers are the core of this team and they are going to show up and play,” he said.

Oakley noted a couple of “busted plays” in the passing game, saying “we have to get better” and this week’s practices will give the offense time to improve.

“I’m proud of our offensive line,” he said. “That was a question mark, and they handled their front pretty well. It may not be as good as I think until we turn on the film, and our backs will make you look good, but we were able to run the ball.”

South Panola has another full week to prepare for the start of the season, which will open for the Tigers a week from Friday (Sept. 2) at Oxford High School.

The Chargers put the Tigers out of the 6A playoffs last year in the first round in a game that Oxford took an early lead, but nearly lost when South Panola battled back to make the contest close in the fourth quarter. The Chargers won after a long pass play touchdown and a defensive stand late.

Oxford plays this Friday, at Brandon High School.