Quarterback Derrion Pulphus runs the ball with some protection on his left side from Bobby Townsend.

HOUSTON – The Houston Hilltoppers took to the field against the North Panola Cougars on Friday night for round 2 of the playoffs. The Toppers won by a score of 8-6.

The game was not a matter of who could score the most, it was a matter of who could score. The first score was not put on the board until midway through the second quarter, with the Cougars being on the scoring end. They missed the two point conversion, bringing the score to 6-0. This was the only score in the first half. The Toppers scored on a big run, but it was brought back because of a block in the back call. Thus, it remained 6-0.

After halftime, the Toppers came out with a new fire, and absolutely exploded. They scored a touchdown early in the third quarter on a pass from quarterback Derrion Pulphus to Shemar Crawford. The two point try by Bobby Townsend was successful, and the score moved to what would go on to be the final of 8-6.

It was truly a game of big defense. Both teams played lock-down defense and that made scoring a trial. The Toppers recorded a few sacks, Rish Alford and Allan Robertson both recorded at least one sack in the game. The Toppers’ defense absolutely shut down the Cougars in the second half. They made very few mistakes and executed plays almost perfectly.

The Toppers showed up in this game, and while it was not a high scoring affair, the defense showed that they could hold their own in just such a situation. There were several hard hits that one could almost feel the impact on the sidelines.

Coach Ty Hardin was extremely proud of his team’s performance.

“It was an awesome win,” he said. “Our kids did what we wanted them to do. I owe them a lot of credit. It was a heck of a defensive slug fest for both teams, and that was probably the most talented teams that I have seen this year. Our kids competed for four quarters and didn’t quit, didn’t let bad scenarios happen. I just love our kids!”

The Toppers will take on the Noxubee County Tigers next Friday. The Tigers defeated Senatobia 21-0 on Friday night. This will be a revenge game for the Toppers. Not only are they vying for a spot in the final four, but they also lost to the Tigers in their regular season 19-12.

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