HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Petal's 49-28 victory over Oak Grove last week was special in multiple ways. It improved the Panthers district record to 2-0, but perhaps even more special was what it meant to the seniors.
It was the first time this group got the best of the Warriors.
Stephon Huderson is a part of this class. You could say he was not going to let that elusive victory over the heated rivals slip away without a fight.
He put up 206 yards and five touchdowns in the win. For this, Huderson is this week's Academy Sports + Outdoors Player of the Week.
"It feels like we're getting everything that we worked for," Huderson said of Friday night's win. "Coach stressed all week about how important this game was because the seniors never beat Oak Grove. We was 0-3 against them. We had a very good chance of beating them this year."
Panthers coach Marcus Boyles did not try to hide how big a win it was.
"It was real big for those guys," Boyles said. "Obviously that's a big rivalry. Them not being able to win a game against Oak Grove so it was huge to get that one and also being a district game. That even adds a little bit more to it."
Huderson, a Tulane commit, said the win was not just a by product of his tough and slippery running. He gave credit to the big guys up front.
"It felt like everything was clicking," Huderson said. "The big guys up front, they opened up some holes for me. I made some plays and then the game was just flowing."
Petal is now 4-2 on the year with a chance to go 3-0 in league play Friday with a trip to Brandon.
With a player in Huderson who impacts the team under the Friday night lights and during the practice grind, the Panthers do not seem to be in danger of losing focus.
"He's our best practice player," he said. "He comes to practice every day ready to get better. And when your great players are working hard in practice it just lifts other teammates up. He's a leader for us and that's what you want out of your best player. He is definitely a leader. The young kids look up to him and he's a great role model. (A) high character kid. He's a pleasure to coach and we're going to miss him."