Game Preview: South Panola Tigers(0-0) at Oxford Chargers (0-1)


Ross A Shows, Podcast Producer and Sports Writer

Last week’s MVP: QB Roman Gregory (19 carries, 100 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns.)


The Chargers are set to host the South Panola Tigers for their 2022 home opener tonight. The Tigers are heading into their first game of the season, with a brand new coaching staff, after the retirement of long-time legendary head coach Ricky Woods. Oxford returns home after a disappointing 45-14 loss at Brandon last week. In the last meeting between the two teams, Oxford won a thriller in Round 1 of the 6A state playoffs, 35-28.


Players to Watch:


Oxford Senior DB Ryan Kirkwood: Kirkwood, in his senior season, will be a key player for the Chargers secondary. With an interception last week, and a scoop and score in the Chargers Jamboree, we have already seen a glimpse of just how good Kirkwood can be.  Facing an athletic and balanced receiving group for the Tiger offense, Kirkwood’s performance will be a major factor in the Charger defense’s success Friday night.


South Panola Senior QB David Hubbard: Hubbard is heading into his third and final year as the Tigers starting quarterback. In last year’s meeting between the two teams, Hubbard gave the Chargers all they could handle. He had 328 passing yards along with a passing touchdown proving to be a difficult test for the Charger defense. The veteran quarterback threw for over 1,500 yards, 18 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions last season. He has the ability to break outside the pocket and makes some plays with his legs if needed as well. The veteran quarterback’s play will be a key factor if the Tigers are to take down the Chargers.


Oxford Junior TE Jack Harper: Harper enters the season at 6’5 and 215 pounds. He is heading into his second year as a varsity starter at the tight end position for the Chargers. Last season, Harper led the team in receiving touchdowns with 5, and he also put up a solid 355 all purpose yards. Harper is a guy that can sit in the trenches and block, and also is capable of going deep for the long ball. So, be on the lookout for the Chargers to utilize the size and ability of Harper and put the ball in his hands.


South Panola Junior RB/OLB Julius Pope: Debatably the most dynamic and talented player on this South Panola team, Pope will play on both sides of the football all night long. In last year’s meeting, Pope took over with a whopping 126 rushing yards and also contributed with 5 tackles on the other side of the football. The Tigers will send Pope all over the field, and all night long he will give the Chargers trouble in almost every aspect of the game. 


X Factor:

Eliminate Negative Offensive Plays and Eliminate Explosive Plays Defensively: Last week at Brandon, the Chargers simply struggled to move the ball. They continued to have drives that were killed by penalties and negative offensive plays. The Chargers had 12 negative yardage plays and 7 offensive penalties which caused many drives to not finish in points. With the Charger offense struggling, the defense was on the field for the majority of the football game. Defensively, the Chargers allowed only 89 yards through 50 snaps, but the remaining 18 snaps allowed 430 yards. It will be crucial for the Offense to play cleaner football and for the defense to eliminate big plays if the Chargers want to end up on top. 



The Chargers return home for their first regular season game at Bobby Holcomb Field. Back in 2019, the Chargers lost an early matchup to a very good Starkville team. After this loss, the Chargers were unbeaten the rest of the season going on to win their first ever State Championship. It could just be me, but I think last week’s loss to Brandon felt very similar to this one. I believe the Chargers will play with a sense of urgency to get back in the win column. With that being said, I look for the Chargers to rebound and claim a victory. Chargers 30-21.