Mount Pleasant starts slow but claims final playoff spot
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Nov. 11, 2006 - Mount Pleasant started the District 11-4A schedule in an 0-3 hole, but the Tigers finished up in the playoffs.

Mount Pleasant grabbed the third and final playoff spot in the district by virtue of its 45-42 overtime victory over Lindale and Texas High's 25-7 win over Paris.

That left Mount Pleasant, Paris and Lindale all with 2-3 records behind Texas High (5-0) and North Lamar (3-2). Because Mount Pleasant beat both Paris and Lindale, the Tigers will advance to the playoffs.

In the first round, Texas High (10-0) will play Nacogdoches (6-4); North Lamar (7-3) will take on Hallsville (7-3) and Mount Pleasant (5-5) plays Whitehouse (8-2).

In the final game of the year, Whitehouse pulled several of its starters early in the third quarter of a 21-13 loss to Nacogdoches to get a better playoff pairing. Had Whitehouse won, it would have knocked Nacogdoches out of the playoffs, putting Whitehouse in as the Division I team and a first-round match-up with No. 1-ranked Texas High.

STATISTICAL ODDITY - A look at the final statistics for North Lamar shows no individual passing, receiving, punt returns or kickoff returns. The Panthers didn't throw a pass and didn't return either of the Wildcats' two punts or two kickoffs (touchback and onside kick). ... DaQualin "Boo" Evans ended the season with seven touchdown receptions, a team high and two short of the school record set by Kendall Wright in 2003.... The Wildcats had three receivers end the year with at least 35 receptions: Tyler Rhoades had 48 for 563 yards, Jeff Beck caught 37 for 405 yards, and Evans had 35 for 526.

NOT QUITE THERE - North Lamar's 66 rushing plays were a lot, but they weren't the most for a Sulphur Springs opponent. In 1972, McKinney ran the ball 72 times against the Wildcats. ... The 56 carries by Antowoine Smith, however, is believed to be a record for a Wildcat opponent. By comparison, the Wildcats did not have a running back carry the ball more than 21 times all year. ... Jeff Pitts had 21 rushes for 142 yards to lead all SSHS running backs in carries and yardage. ... Sulphur Springs ended the season by throwing 10 interceptions but only intercepted three opponents' passes. ... All four combined punts by SSHS and NL on Friday were into the wind, which accounted for the 27-yard per kick average between the two teams.

NEGATIVE - The Wildcats stopped North Lamar for losses on six plays. The tackles for losses were made by juniors Brittan Diamond, Josh Dunn and Tyler Francis, sophomore Darrell Franklin andRashad Hall, seniors A.D. Miles and Jamal Freeman.

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