All of the details still need to be sorted out, but mark May 14 as a night of champions.
On that evening, Class 5A champion West Point High School will take on Class 6A state champion South Panola at a site to be determined.
Louisville High School also could be involved in what would become a jamboree, but the recent decision of LHS football coach and athletic director Brad Peterson to take the head football coaching position at Brandon has left Louisville”s involvement in the event in question.
West Point coach Chris Chambless said his team, which played host to Louisville in a spring game last year, owed Louisville a game, so it was going to go to Louisville to play next month. He said he then received a phone call from South Panola football coach Lance Pogue, who was looking for a team to play in the spring.
If Louisville”s new coach decides he doesn”t want his team to play against West Point and South Panola, Chambless said South Panola will come to Clay County to play on May 13.
“We”re not going to make more of it than it is. It is a spring game,” Chambless said. “Coach Pogue and I talked and we”re not going to make more of it than it is. We”re going to try to improve and work people in at different spots.”
Nicholas Parker rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns to lead South Panola to a 56-14 victory against Oak Grove in the Class 6A title game last year.
The Tigers, who finished 14-1, scored the most points in a Mississippi title game and recorded their eighth state title in the process.
The 56 points tied the state record shared by Stringer (1992) and Pelahatchie (1998).
South Panola racked up 387 yards rushing on 52 carries in the victory, its 103rd in its last 105 games. The Tigers have won six of the last seven state championships.
West Point last faced South Panola in 2004 when both teams were district rivals in Class 5A. Coach Dennis Allen”s Green Wave lost to the Tigers 21-14. West Point also lost twice to South Panola in 2003, falling 48-7 in the regular-season finale and 21-0 in the second round of the Class 5A North Half State playoffs.
Allen, who is the athletic director at West Point High, said it will be exciting to have West Point back on the schedule, even if it is “only” a spring game.
“It is going to be a good game,” Allen said. “We”ll get after each other and it will be a good spring game. It will be a good test for both teams.
“I would think there would be a pretty good crowd.”
Chambless knows his players and the community will be hyped up for the game. But he cautioned everyone that the Green Wave won”t deviate from their game plan. He said his team will need to work on things and to see which players work best in certain positions, much like the team did last year in a 32-24 loss to Louisville. The end results paid off, as West Point rebounded from a season-opening loss at Shannon and reeled off 14 consecutive victories, capped by a 35-14 win against Wayne County that secured the program”s sixth state title.
“We did some things well last year, but we got beat,” Chambless said. “We definitely want revenge from that (spring game).”
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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