By Brandon Speck
North Pontotoc will take whatever tempo you give it.
The Vikings picked up a huge Division 1-3A win, 35-21 at Booneville on Friday. Two of their five touchdowns were of 70 and 78 yards on a pass from Trey Jolly to Brooks Shannon and a run from Louisiana-Monroe commit Marcus Green.
But running back Jeremy Wilkes also led sustained drives and scored a pair of touchdowns.
“I thought that was big for us to be able to run clock down,” North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton said. “We still tried to throw it a little bit. That’s part of our stuff. Depends on what they give you.”
North Pontotoc, No. 4 in the Journal’s latest Class 4A/3A rankings, ran 24 plays in the third quarter compared to Booneville’s six. With a trip to Belmont coming up Friday, North is the leader in the clubhouse to win the division.
Green is such a playmaker, that North tends to be seen as high-flying, up-tempo. That can vary and so can the playmakers.
“Green’s very good, but he’s not the only one they have,” Booneville coach Mike Mattox said. “No. 2 (Shannon), No. 5 (WR Greg Gambrel), No. 34 (Wilkes) runs the ball hard.”
Tupelo’s big test
It’s time for Tupelo. The Golden Wave is 7-0 (3-0 in Division 1-6A) for the first time since 1991. The Journal’s No. 2 Large School has passed its first seven tests with flying colors, but its toughest test awaits.
Next up is defending 6A champion South Panola, in Batesville on Friday. None of the last four meetings have been competitive.
Tupelo’s last win in the series, 17-14 in 2001 under then-coach Phil Ferguson, came against a Panola team that finished 5-6 and didn’t make the playoffs.
South Panola (7-1, 3-0) has won three of the last four Class 6A championships and hasn’t lost an in-state game since 2011.