South Panola pounds Warren Central, 43-0
Published 12:00 am Monday, November 13, 2000
BATESVILLE South Panola’s defense, as relentless as it was ferocious, eliminated Warren Central from the Class 5A state playoffs, 43-0, on a bitterly cold Friday night in front of an estimated 1,700 at Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers (7-4) held Warren Central to just 71 total yards and did not allow a first down until the start of the second half in grounding a Vikings’ running attack that had averaged 220 yards per game.
“We’ve struggled all year long, but knew we had possibilities,” South Panola coach Ed Stanley said. “Tonight we were able to do some things on both sides of the ball. We overcame some turnovers early. I think we have a chance to do well, it’s just whether or not we can keep playing like a team.”
In addition to a dominating defensive effort, the Tigers rolled up 406 yards of offense 390 of which came against a formidable Vikings’ defense.
“We stopped them the first two possessions, we just couldn’t put any points on the board,” said WC defensive lineman Thad Henderson, who had 14 tackles to lead the team. “In the playoffs, you got to score some points. All the teams that are here are good.”
Marcus Conner led nine Tigers’ running backs wth 95 yards on 17 carries and Chris Herring, who caused havoc on the defensive side of the ball, scored a pair of offensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Ricky Wright, Broderick Pounders, Chad Brown and Terrance Chandler each scored a touchdown as South Panola scored 29 second-half points.
“I won’t make any excuses, it was a good country whoopin’,” WC coach Robert Morgan said. “But I’ll say this about my boys, they never quit and played hard and I’m proud of them.”
Warren Central was put in a bind early in the first quarter with the loss of leading rusher John Hicks to a dislocated shoulder, but the Vikings caused two South Panola turnovers on the first two possessions of the game.
After a fumbled snap on a punt on the Tigers’ first possession, the Vikings missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
The Tigers drove to the Vikings’ 37, but Conner fumbled and Tyler DeRossette, who had 11 tackles, recovered the fumble. The quarter ended 0-0 after three WC plays gained 6 yards.
“They were aggressive coming on stunts,” said senior Leonard Harris, who had 22 yards on 10 carries. “The second half, we had a little surge, but it just didn’t work out.”
Pounders scored three minutes into the second quarter after a blocked punt and Conner added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead. Wright’s 3-yard run five minutes later gave the hosts a 14-0 lead at the half.
“We told our boys we needed to get something going in the second half,” Morgan said. “The defense stayed out there a pretty good bit and they finally wore them out.”
Omar Jackson and Harris each rushed for a first down the first two of the game on the first possession of the second half, but the Tigers held.
Four plays later, Herring scampered down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown to up the lead to 22-0.
On the first play after the touchdown, Carlton Bradford gained 46 yards on a trick formation for the longest WC play from scrimmage, but Kedran Booth intercepted a pass at the 7-yard line to end the Vikings’ best scoring chance.
The Tigers scored three times within a five-minute span in the fourth quarter to hand WC it’s first shutout of the season.
“South Panola is a very good ball team and the games they lost were to two, three and four in the state,” Morgan said. “I’ll tell you what, they’ve got possibilities to get another state championship.”
The Vikings ended the season with a 9-3 record and will return the nucleus of the team next season. Morgan said the future is bright.
“I take my hats off to them (South Panola), but I’m not yielding and my boys did not yield,” Morgan said. “I am very proud of them and I think Warren County and our school should be proud of them.
“We’ve got a good group coming back and who knows what can happen?”