South Panola has unselfish quarterback
The South Panola Tigers may have a quarterback with the last name of Self, but he's far from being selfish.
South Panola head coach Lance Pogue said his senior signal caller does a good job of using the players around him to be successful. Despite his 5-foot-8 stature, Self is 23-1 as a starter with a state championship to his credit.
"He's got a big heart who operates in the framework of our offense," Pogue said. "We try not to put a whole lot of pressure on him, let the game unfold and do what he can do. He can make high-percentage throws and doesn't put us in a bind turning the ball over."
Self has only thrown one interception in 103 attempts. He has 67 completions for 1,112 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"We're really tickled with what he's done for us," Pogue said. "He plays within himself and utilizes the guys around him."
The guys around Self are pretty good.
The top receiver for the Tigers is Mississippi State commitment Nickolas Brassell with 37 catches for 615 yards and nine touchdowns. Marcus Henry has 16 catches for 322 yards and six scores.
Qyendairs Griffin, a converted safety to running back, is probably the most dangerous player on offense for South Panola. He has 1,649 yards rushing on 169 carries and 24 touchdowns.
"He's had a tremendous year," Pogue said. "We run the ball, no question about that, but we have some really good receivers.
"When you can run the ball effectively and have got some threats at receiver, it gives the quarterback a great opportunity and Self has taken full advantage of that."
The Tigers have been a traditional power in the largest Mississippi High School Activities Association classification for the last several years and this season has been no exception.
South Panola, the defending Class 6A state champion, brings a No. 1 national ranking into Friday's 7 p.m. road game against the Starkville Yellowjackets.
"We've been blessed and very fortunate," Pogue said. "We've had a lot of kids coming back from last year's team. They've done a good job of staying grounded, focused and we've had some older guys give us some good leadership. We've given ourselves a great opportunity, but there's a lot left to be decided."
The Tigers are solid on top of the Class 6A, Region 1 standings with their 5-0 record and sport a 9-0 mark overall.
After losing two-straight games in the region by a total of five points (to Southaven 28-27 and to Olive Branch 40-36), the Jackets are on the outside looking in as far as the postseason with a region record of 3-2.
Pogue knows sooner or later the football is bound to bounce back in Starkville's favor and when it does, the Jackets will be very difficult to beat.
"The last two weeks in a row where they've basically lost on the last play of the game, that's just a freak of nature and probably couldn't happen again the way that did in 20 years," Pogue
said. "Sometimes this game gets crazy. They are probably the most improved team in the state. Their staff has done an outstanding job."