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Tigers hand Chargers first loss

The Oxford Middle School seventh-grade football team suffered its first loss of the season with a 16-0 setback to Batesville on Tuesday.

It was the Chargers’ first loss in the last three years.

“South Panola was one of the most physical teams we have played in several years, and they really tackled in the open field as well as any seventh-grade team I have seen,” Oxford coach Mike Hardwick said.

Batesville scored a touchdown each in the first two quarters, including an interception return for a score, and it was all the Tigers needed as the defense shut down the Chargers’ offense the rest of the way. It was the second defensive touchdown Oxford (2-1) has allowed this season.

“The interception return was the second time in three games we have let a team score against us with a turnover,” Hardwick said. “Even though we throw the ball a lot, we always stress ball security and good decision-making, and tonight the receiver ran the wrong the route and the quarterback shouldn’t have thrown it.”

Oxford got inside the Tigers’ 20-yard line twice, but each trip ended with a turnover on downs. Hardwick said Batesville did some stunting along the defensive line to cause some negative plays and put the Chargers in lengthy down and distances.

Hardwick praised the play of Conner Bradley, Christian Blake and Hart Smith on defense.

“While it was disappointing — and we have been fortunate the past couple of years in winning a lot of games — this game shows us exactly what we need to improve on to win,” Hardwick said.