South Panola wins again

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, December 2, 2006

Darius Barksdale ran for 179 yards and scored two touchdowns as South Panola claimed its fourth straight Class 5A state championship and its 60th consecutive win with a 28-21 victory over Meridian.

South Panola (15-0) hasn’t lost since the 2002 Class 5A title game against Wayne County. Friday’s win tied Weir for the most state titles with six.

The Tigers, who also won state titles in 1993 and 1998, defeated Meridian (11-4) in last year’s championship game.

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Barksdale raced 84-yard for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Bud Barksdale, his cousin, scored on a 65-yard run on South Panola’s next possession to push the lead to 14-0 with 7:26 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers ran for 272 yards in the first half.

South Panola stretched its lead to 21-0 late in the third quarter when Leroy Diggs connected with Jeramie Griffins on a 66-yard touchdown pass with 3:44 left in the period.

Meridian (11-4) got back into the game in the fourth quarter by outscoring South Panola 21-7 during a five-minute stretch to pull within 28-21 with 5:14 remaining. The Wildcats cut the deficit to seven on a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Reauze Cole.

Meridian stopped South Panola on downs with 2:01 to play but three incomplete passes and a sack killed any hopes an upset.