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October 23, 2010

Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Batesville (Miss.) South Panola failed to reach 300 yards in total offense for the first time all season.

It fumbled inside the red zone. Twice. It held the ball for only 18 minutes.

And yet it still managed to win by 35.

Simply put, the nation's top-ranked team managed to make a five-touchdown victory look ugly as South Panola defeated Southhaven (Miss.) High, 48-13, Friday night.

"We made too many mistakes," South Panola head coach Lance Pogue said after the game. "We put up 48 points on a good defense and held a high-powered offense to just 13. But we have to get those mistakes cleaned up."

A win is a win, but in the RivalsHigh Top 100, how you win determines if you keep your spot. The fate of South Panola will be revealed on Monday, when the next rankings are released.

South Panola does have the final margin in its favor. Not to mention a rugged schedule of out-of-area games.

This one, however, was against a Southaven team that is ranked 12th in Mississippi. Pogue, however, feels it is stronger than that.

"This is a big game for us," he said. "It was like a playoff game. It was for the Region 1-6A title and both teams fought hard."

The Tigers did not break 300 yards on offense for the game, which is what star running back back Qyendarius Griffin has gained on his own.

Not this time. After a solid start, Griffin was held under 100 yards for the first time this season.

South Panola, however, is more than just offense.

The defense smothered a high-powered offense that had been averaging 40 points per game. It was shut down after 12 minutes.

"They caught us on a few plays early," Pogue said. "We switched up our man to zone coverage in the second quarter and that seemed to work."

Still, South Panola led just 20-13 at halftime.

Then Nickalos Brassell and Antonio Connor took over.

Brassell, the state's top-rated player, returned the opening kickoff of the second half 91 yards for a touchdown. Soon after, Tony Connor returned an interception 99 yards for a score to make it 34-13.

Brassell followed with a 23-yard catch for a 41-13 advantage before Connor returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for the final margin.

"We came out of the gate in the second half," Pogue said. "We got that return and then another score and then the interception (return). That happened so quick, it turned the game around."

Southaven, meanwhile, was limited to just seven yards rushing on 21 attempts and completed 15-of-27 passes for 205 yards.

The loss may have longer lasting effects as Southaven quarterback Dominique Harris was taken off the field in an ambulance and then airlifted to a local hospital.

Harris, who has offers to play Division I football from Memphis and Mississippi State, gave the crowd a thumbs up as he left the field and according to Pogue is expected to be fine.

"It was a precaution," Pogue said. "He was talking and moving everything. He wanted to get up and get moving but they wanted to get him off just to be safe."

What may not be safe is the Tigers' grip on the top spot.

Was this just a slight slip up or enough of an opening for No. 2 Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas (a 56-0 winner) or No. 3 Euless (Texas) Trinity (a 55-7 winner)?

That will be determined Monday.



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