• John Macon Gillespie

Bishop To Represent South Panola At Fortius Project

One of the biggest reasons for South Panola having such a tradition rich football program is having a smash mouth defense that will make you earn every single yard. It helped them win 11 state championships, more than any other MHSAA football program. South Panola 2019 defensive lineman Terry Bishop has been aware of that for a long time and is ready to do everything he can to help his team play in Hattiesburg in December.

“Coach (Ricky) Woods told me that he has high expectations for me this season, being a senior on the defensive line,” Bishop told SES Mississippi. “That’s going to be a big role, but I have to step up and help my team make it back to being what we are known for, that is getting a ring.”

Bishop was a part of a young defensive group last season, the Tigers still gave up only 18 points per game in a division full of defensive talent. This season, Bishop hopes to be that senior leader on that side of the ball and make plays.

“We all came together as one and built up into a great impact defense with all the great seniors that have left. We learned from them and we are going to move on into being a great impact defense this season. We just need to get better coming off the ball and make better plays,” Bishop said.

The Tigers have been one and done the past three seasons in the class 6A playoffs and haven’t won or played in a state championship since 2014. For a lot of teams, just being in the playoffs is a good season. In Batesville, the bar is set high and anything other than ending the season with players hoisting a gold ball is seen as an anomaly. Bishop can tell you first hand, growing up around “The University” of South Panola.

“To be a South Panola Tiger means a lot to me. Not everyone gets a chance to play for a team that has won 11 state titles. I love that I get the chance to be a part of it. Everyone in the town believes we have to win because that’s a tradition in Panola County,” Bishop said.

Last season, Bishop tallied 35 tackles and two sacks. He is preparing to be a regular visitor to the opponents backfield this offseason. His road of offseason improvement will run through Booneville this spring at the Fortius Project at Northeast Mississippi Community College on March 24.

“I have improved in my pass rush last season, but didn’t have as many sacks as I wanted. At the Fortius Project, I want to improve in being an even better pass rusher so I can have a dominant season on the line,” Bishop said.

***Photo Courtesy of Will Dickins of The Panolian

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