Thursday, November 12, 2009
Indians end year with loss
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians had postponed their last game of the season for a few days because of inclement weather and field conditions. They hosted the Cougars of North Panola on Tuesday evening of last week at Indian field.
The Indians received after the Cougars deferred possession until the second half. The first half was scoreless until the last 2:58 when the Cougars’ D. Loveberry scored on a second and goal from the 1. They tried for two but came up short.
The kick by Panola was taken by Andre Collins, who was named the game’s most valuable player, and he returned it to the 48. A first down was gained on a flare pass from Patrick Malone to Tavaris Neal. Malone went back again to pass and this time was picked by T. Hibbler, who returned the ball 70 yards for the Panola score. This time the visitors converted for two and went ahead 12-0.
On the Panola kick it was déjà vu all over again. Collins made another good return, placing the ball on the 45. The next play, a pass, was picked by C. Hibbler, who avoided all tackle attempts and scored. They again converted for two and just that quick, it was 20-0 with 1:42 left in second quarter.
The Panola kick was fielded by Devonte Norman and returned to mid-field. Malone called his own number and moved the chains. He came back and hit Dustin Smith for a first down at the 24. The Indians were determined to avoid the first half shutout. And they did with a zinger over center to Neal, who scored. Randy Holt booted the point-after try and the score was 20-7.
M. Butler was calling signals for the Cougars and was content to run out the remaining seconds of the half by keeping the ball on the ground.
The Cougars received to start the third quarter. The kick was short and the ball carrier was wrapped up at the 40 by the Indians defense. The Cougars gained a first down then rushed for a long first and goal at the 8. Butler kept and scored on an option. The extra-point try failed but it was a 26-7 score.
Byhalia racked up two first downs. Neal caught a Malone pass and went to the 30. The Indians were threatening when the offense broke down. They finally gave it up on a 4th and 12. The quarter ended on a 26-7.
In the fourth quarter, Panola kept the ball on the ground, burning up as much clock as possible. Lewis was the consistent ball carrier. The Indian defense was very stingy and the Cougars had to punt. Their punts and kicks earlier had been short; now they were sending the ball deep. Byhalia was going to the air, using screens and slants, eventually sending the ball over on downs.
Byhalia’s goal line stands were becoming solid. On a fourth and goal from the 8, Reggie Richmond stormed through, chased the QB and threw him for a 22-yard loss.
Byhalia got the ball but with little time on the clock and a lot of field. They were moving toward the red zone when Dustin Smith was picked by a Cougar linebacker.
The final score was 26-7 in favor of North Panola.
Head coach Markeith Washington’s team finishes 5-6 after a winless season one year ago.
“Our rebuilding effort is off to a good start,” he said. “We’re building a solid foundation. We started a lot of young players this year and got them some valuable experience. We’re looking forward to the future.”
It was the Indians’ first year in Class 4A.
“Moving up and still being a relatively new football program was tough,” Washington said. “It sort of put us back at square one.
“We just have to hit the weight room and move forward together.”
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