Tigers in 2nd round against Neshoba Central

Published 1:27 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

South Panola scored eight touchdowns, including six in the second quarter, to rack up 56 points while allowing just six to beat Callaway Friday, Nov. 10, at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium in Batesville. 

The Tigers cruised through the first round of the 6A playoffs with the win, and will face Neshoba Central in the second round this Friday at home. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 10-1. Callaway finished the season 4-8.

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This week’s opponent, the Neshoba Central Rockets, have a 6-5 record, including a 4-1 mark in 6A Region 2 games. This season the Rockets have beaten Canton, Vicksburg, Columbus, Ridgeland, Callaway, and Center Hill. Their losses were to Pearl, Louisville, West Lauderdale, West Point, and Warren Central.

Neshoba Central advanced to the second round with a 41-14 win against Center Hill last week.

The Rockets are averaging 19.6 a game this season, compared to 32.0 for South Panola. Neshoba is led offensively by quarterback Will Williams (139.9 passing yards per game) and running back Mekhi Gaddis (97.7 rushing yards per game). 

Defensively, Zach Ruffin has averaged 10 tackles per game this season.

South Panola enters this week’s contest on a nine-game winning streak, during which time the Tigers have outscored opponents 310 to 92.

Against Callaway, quarterback Michael Johnson was again the Tigers’ main offensive weapon, picking up 109 yards on 11 carries, and scoring two touchdowns. Johnson added another touchdown through the air on a 67 yard catch and run to Marcus Christon. Christon also had 54 yards on the ground, including a 32 yard scamper for a touchdown.

Mykel Allen ran the ball nine times for 113 yards and scored two touchdowns, and A.J. Rudd picked up 38 yards on four carries and scored a rushing touchdown.

Backup quarterback Owen Roebuck saw some action, as did several second and third string players on both sides of the ball. Roebuck excited the crowd late with four carries for 35 yards, including a 16 yard scramble that gave Tigers fans a preview of next year’s offense. Roebuck also had one pass for 12 yards.

Defensively, Jamarcus Flowers recorded four tackles, Terrell Henderson had three, and a host of Tigers had two, including Willie Butler, Calib Lyle, Othaevius Toliver, and Carmelo Townsend. Jamarcus Flowers and Willie Butler each had interceptions on the night.

Callaway was penalized 15 times for 106 yards and South Panola drew a season-low seven flags for 69 negative yards. The Tigers held the ball 26:23 compared to their opponents’ 21:37.

Total offensive plays for the Tigers was 45 for 455 yards, compared to 35 and 173 for Callaway.