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South Panola survives tough test

November 22, 2010
South Panola High School

<h1>South Panola and Hoover overcome tough tests</h1> FOLLOW RIVALSHIGH: Follow us on Twitter | Friend us on Facebook

Batesville (Miss.) South Panola and Hoover (Ala.) High agreed to a two-year home-and-home series earlier this week to make sure their future teams will get some serious competition.

This year's squads got all they could handle Friday night.

On a night full of upsets, No. 1 South Panola and No. 4 Hoover both escaped with victories and continued on their path to state titles and a battle for a top spot of the RivalsHigh 100.

South Panola needed a late interception (and then a late touchdown) to hold off Olive Branch (Miss.) High, 24-13, in a Mississippi Class 6A second-round game.

"We've got a goal, and we're one step closer," South Panola coach Lance Pogue told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "I give a lot of credit to Olive Branch. They played us so hard. This is what 6A football is all about."

Hoover, ahead by 22 with just over seven minutes to go, held off a furious Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Clarksville rally and survived, 35-27, in an Alabama Class 6A quarterfinal.

"This is what it is all about," Hoover coach Josh Niblett told the Birmingham News. "Two class programs. Two class communities. When you can get a matchup like this in the quarterfinals and two teams fighting and slugging it out until the final bell, you've got something incredible. Tonight was unbelievable."

Here's a closer look at the games.

No. 1 South Panola 24, Olive Branch 13

South Panola got 240 yards from star running back Qyen Griffin. And all it could handle from Olive Branch.

Olive Branch entered the game at 8-4 - but it was determined to prove it could hang with 12-0 and national No. 1 South Panola.

The school's fans chanted "Shock the World," according to the Commercial Appeal. And the team had a chance to do just that - or at least shock the folk who follow national high school football - when it got the ball back, down by five, with four minutes left.

The dream, however, died when South Panola's Kendrick Market intercepted a pass minutes later. Griffin then went in from 4 yards out to clinch it.

Market and Antonio Connor also had TDs for South Panola.

  • RivalsHigh take: Olive Branch always has the talent to stay with the best teams in the state but it has often been found wanting. With a chance to shock the country, the team made a costly turnover. The Tigers were tested and will be the next two weeks as well.
  • For complete coverage, check out this game story in the Commercial-Appeal.

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