When South Panola and West Point kick off the 2011 season on Saturday, one can probably expect a lot of points to blow up the score board.
Given the history of these two teams, who last year scored an average of 45 and 29 points per game, respectively, Saturday may just be a shoot out.
The visiting Tigers are coming off another impressive season with more trophies and championship rings. Lee Self led the team in passing with over 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns; Qyendairs Griffin rushed for over 2,600 yards and scored 37 touchdowns; and receiver Nickolas Brassell caught for nearly 900 yards with 13 touchdowns. The trio were the backbone for the Tigers explosive offense that finished No. 1 in three national publications.
Good news for Green Wave fans because they all graduated.
South Panola’s starting quarterback Antonio Conner returns as the teams leading tackler on defense, 89 last season. Conner did not throw a pass in 2010, but was effective in the running game amassing over 400 yards on 34 carries with six touchdowns. The Tigers plan to use him as a multi-purpose player offensively.
The teams other top defender Issac Gross, returns for his senior campaign. The Dandy Dozen selection had 75 tackles and 10 sacks in 2010.
Sophmore Quandez Lee takes over at tailback in what has been a successful position for the Tigers over the last five or six years.
The Green Wave, who also lost some talent offensively have a duel threat in Dequinten Spraggins, who showed he can perform with his arm and legs in the jamboree game against Louisville.
West Point is also loaded in the backfield with three players that bring a different style to the running game; smash mouth football.
Head coach Chris Chambless has said numerous times that the offensive line will be the backbone for the this year’s team. However, with just three returning players, it might take a little time for them to gel as a unit. They certainly looked unified in the jamboree at times and a did a good job opening up holes for the backs to run through.
Fans can purchase tickets for Saturday’s season opener in advance on Wednesday and Thursday from 5-7 p.m. inside the athletic office.
For more information, call 494-2016.