Game Preview: South Panola Tigers (12-1) at Oxford Chargers (11-1)


Rosie Frugé

Senior quarterback John Meagher gets set to receive the snap in this year’s Jamboree game against Charleston. In last week’s playoff game, Meagher threw for 143 and ran for 45 yards.

Edward Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Last week’s MVP: ATH JJ Pegues (116 Tot Yds, 2 Tot TD)

For the second round of the MHSAA 6A playoffs the Oxford Chargers will host the South Panola Tigers on Friday night.  The Tigers won their first round matchup against Tupelo by a score of 39-23. Oxford dominated Warren Central for their first ever 6A playoff win last week, winning 33-14. The two teams faced off against each other last year in a division game where the Chargers came out on top with a 35-21 win.

Players to watch:

Oxford ATH JJ Pegues: Like I said for the Tupelo game, you need your best players to perform in the biggest games of the season. Pegues dominated the first round of playoffs with two huge touchdowns, highlighted by a 74-yard receiving touchdown. Last year against the Tigers, Pegues had three receiving and one rushing touchdown in the Charger’s 35-21 win. Pegues will need to emulate that success against South Panola again to ensure a North Half appearance for the Chargers.

South Panola RB/S Janari Dean: Dean is my obvious choice for player to watch on South Panola, and for good reason.  A three-star prospect committed to Mississippi State University, Dean has racked up 1568 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. For comparison, the leading rusher for the Chargers has less than half of that, with 752 yards. In the Tiger’s win last week, Dean had 28 carries for 263 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by an 90-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Oxford QB John Meagher: The Charger offense finally came to life against Warren Central last week, scoring 33 points. Meagher had a huge touchdown throw to Pegues and also had a long run for a touchdown. He and the rest of the Oxford offense will need to step up again against a strong Tiger defense.


South Panola LB Jaqualian Gillespie: Gillespie is the leader of the Tiger defense at the middle linebacker position. He leads the team 128 total tackles, the next closest on the roster having 76.  In addition, Gillespie has three tackles for loss, three interceptions, eight passes defended and a sack. 

X Factor:

Limiting Big Plays: Last week in the first round, Dean had two huge touchdown runs, one for 90 yards and the other for 80. In their only loss on the season, Oxford allowed the Starkville Yellowjackets to have huge touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, putting the game to bed.  While I don’t doubt the Charger defense’s ability to stop the South Panola offense, one or two huge breakaway plays for the Tigers could severely hurt the Charger’s chances of winning.  If Oxford plays the way it has all year and limits these chunk plays, I’ll be writing another Game Preview next week.


Everybody around the state is saying it.  South Panola is back. Since 1993, the “University of South Panola” has won 11 state championships, seven in 5A and four in 6A.  After a three year stretch without a single playoff win, the Tigers seem to be back with their 12-1 record this year.  But, they haven’t played Oxford yet. Like I said for the X Factor, if the Charger defense can limit the big plays from Dean and quarterback Anterrio Draper, they should have their second ever 6A playoff win. I’m going with the home team, 32-20.