• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: North Panola 22 | Water Valley 0

Going into this matchup between North Panola(10-0) and Water Valley(7-4), I had a gut feeling that with the help of the soggy conditions that the Blue Devils could pull off the upset. While the rain did help the Blue Devils slow down the potent Cougar offensive attack a little bit, the conditions kept their own offense from getting into any rhythm all night and led to a goose egg on the scoreboard. KJ Jefferson and the North Panola offense on the other hand were able to find some success with huge plays in the passing game. In the end these big plays would prove to be too much to overcome for a Water Valley offense that struggled to move the ball in the horrible conditions. North Panola took home the Region 2-3A crown with the 22-0 victory over Water Valley. The first points of the night for North Panola came with 7:37 left in the first quarter as the Cougars defense forced a safety to take an early 2-0 lead. The safety came after the Blue Devils stopped KJ Jefferson at the 1 yard line a 4th and goal attempt. On the possession following the safety, KJ Jefferson proved that he can still throw a perfect ball even in wet conditions as he connecected with Eric Bailey on a 61 yard strike to extend their lead to 8-0. The Blue Devils would drive deep into Cougar territory late in the first half, but with the rain taking their passing game out of the equation they were unable to find the endzone. North Panola carried a 8 point lead to the locker room at the half. As the teams came out for the second half the rain finally halted, but the damage had already been done as the field was completely soaked so the passing attacks for both teams still struggled to get going with several drops due to the wet ball. However, just like in the first half the North Panola offense was able to make more big plays than Water Valley, leading to two second half rushing touchdowns to earn the 22-0 victory. Both teams will be praying for dry conditions next week I'm sure! As they both prepare for the first round of the MHSAA 3A Playoffs. As North Panola hosts Aberdeen and Water Valley will host South Pontotoc. The Cougars will be on the favorites to take home the 3A crown, and the Blue Devils will be a sneaky team that could pull of an upset or two if they can get their offense back in rhythm to make a long run.

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