Tigers on road at Southaven after tough Oxford loss

Published 8:25 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Oxford scored 21 unanswered points in the first five minutes of the third quarter to take the lead over South Panola, then tacked on another touchdown on a 57-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to post a 31-14 win in high school football action at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium in Batesville Friday night.

The Tigers led 14-3 at halftime, having scored touchdowns on their first drive and again with 4:25 left in the second quarter. The Chargers had managed just a field, a 27 yard kick, in the first half.

The difference, Tigers head football coach Brooks Oakley said, was a loss of focus coming out of the locker room and more mistakes than the team could overcome.

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“We just didn’t get it done,” Oakley said. “We talked about it at halftime, coming out offensively and setting the tone just like we did in the first half, unfortunately we didn’t.”

“We were undisciplined tonight with a lot of personal fouls and mistakes and I take full responsibility,” Oakley said. “We have to work on it.”

One bright note for the Tigers, however, was a tremendous turnout by fans. District Superintendent Del Phillips has pushed early this season to put fans back in the stands. The stadium, which holds roughly 5,400 on the home side, had less than 500 for some home games last year. 

This year, the district has elected to not stream the games live, but show replays on Sunday afternoons. That decision, and a promotion sponsored this week by Cube Ice provided for $3 tickets for the first 750 fans at the game. Those changes have accomplished the goal of filling the home stands, something Phillips said is critical to rebuilding a championship program.

The Tigers are on the road this week, when they travel to Southaven for a non-district tilt scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. Southaven (0-3) lost 40-7 to Tupelo last week.

Offensively, the Chargers had 186 total yards on 44 plays. On the ground, Oxford rushed for 87 yards on 26 attempts, and picked up 99 yards through the air on 18 passes.

South Panola ran 68 plays for 307 offensive yards. On the ground, the Tigers rushed 44 times for 209 yards, led by Anderus Flowers who picked up 67 yards on nine carries. MIchael Johnson had 14 carries for 62 yards. Marcus Christon rushed 11 times for 57 yards.

The Tigers’ senior running back Julius Pope was injured and did not play.

Through the air, the Tigers picked up 98 yards on 10-of-14 passing. Johnson was 9-for-23 with 94 yards, and three interceptions. Mykel Allen threw one pass, a four touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

Receiving, the Tigers were led by Christon with three catches for 53 yards, Cameren Griffin had two receptions for nine yards and a touchdown. 

For the Tigers, Antravlyun Clark had six tackles, followed by Allen and Terrel Henderson with five tackles each.

South Panola had the ball 32:56 and Oxford’s time of possession was 15:04.

The Tigers were penalized 14 times for 98 yards. The Chargers were flagged seven times for 46 yards.