Six state championships were decided over the weekend in Hattiesburg at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi to put a wrap on yet another prep football season in the state of Mississippi. Well, Almost.
Teams from the South part of the state won four out of six title tilts, as Rock’s Locks went 4-2 in the final outing of the year to finish the season at 132-36 overall this year for a winning percentage of just under 80 percent on the season.
Here are 7 things in the “Southern Six” we noticed over the weekend:
- Back-to-back — Picayune added yet another chapter to its long and storied history book on the football field Friday night. The Maroon Tide rallied from an early 11-point deficit to pull out a 31-21 win over West Point in the Class 5A state championship game before a crowd of 12,000 at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. The win was a school record 26th straight for Picayune, which finished the season at a perfect 15-0 for the first time in school history as well. It also marks the first-ever back-to-back state championships for Picayune as well. Picayune has now won five state championships since the statewide playoff system was implemented in 1981. The Maroon Tide is now tied with Moss Point for most state titles in the “Southern Six” with five apiece. Picayune also becomes the first team in the “Southern Six” to complete a perfect season with a win in the state championship game in 35 years, since Pascagoula finished 14-0 in 1987. Dante Dowdell, Mr. Football in Class 5A this season, ran for 191 yards and three touchdowns for the Maroon Tide in the winning effort. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the game.
- Bulldog beatdown — In Class 6A, Starkville blew out 48-32, as the Yellow Jackets won their seventh state title ever. The loss kind of left a small blemish on the impressive season that Ocean Springs had as well, as Brandon knocked off the Greyhounds in the Class 6A South State finals to earn the trip to the title round. Brandon is still searching for its first-ever state championship in football and fell in the state championship game for the second straight season. Madison Central dispatched the Bulldogs 24-117 last year, and South Panola knocked off BHS 31-23 in 2012 leaving Brandon 0-3 all-time in the state finals.
- Sunny Suntarine — Suntarine Perkins, recently named Mr. Football in Class 3A, led Raleigh to an exciting 55-52 win over perennial state power Noxubee County in the first game of the six on Friday afternoon. It marks the Lions’ (14-1) first state title in school history. Perkins, an Ole Miss commitment, was outstanding in the winning effort carrying the ball 32 times for 334 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored four 2-point conversions and had a big interception at a key point on defense as well. He was named the most valuable player in the game. Kamario Taylor finished completed 14-of-24 for 282 yards and five touchdowns to lead Noxubee County. Anthony Little had seven catches for 134 yards with four touchdowns for the Tigers (10-5).
- Dawgs bite — In the Class 1A game, Bay Springs shut out McEvans 22-0 to defend its title and claim back-to-back crowns. It marks the Bulldogs’ (14-1) second state title in school history. It’s the 24th time a team was shut out in a title game and the first time since 2020 when Taylorsville white-washed Calhoun City. Mississippi State commit Ty Jones ran for 133 yards on 16 carries in the winning effort with two touchdowns and was named the game’s most valuable player. He was also recently selected as the Class 1A Mr. Football in the state. McEvans finished the season 13-2. It was the first-ever trip to the state finals for the Warriors, who have only been a school since 2020. It was formerly Shaw High. Bay Springs was an opponent of Resurrection in Region 4-1A this season. The Bulldogs beat the Eagles 48-7 in mid-October.
- Perfectly perfect — In Class 4A, Louisville’s Cedric Hunt booted a 27-yard field goal on the final play of the game to push the Wildcats past Mendenhall 17-14 in the first game of the day Saturday afternoon. It marks the Wildcats (14-1) 11th state title in school history and first since 2020. Louisville is now 11-0 in state title games and is now tied with South Panola and West Point for the most football state championships statewide.
- Go Goss Go — Just like Picayune and Bay Springs in the South, Scott Central earned back-to-back state championships as well. Quarterback Quez Goss completed 9-of-14 passing for 281 yards and five touchdowns and also added a rushing touchdown as Scott Central smashed Charleston 42-12 to claim the Class 2A State Championship. It’s the Rebels (13-2) fourth state title in school history. Goss, who accounted for eight total touchdowns in Scott Central’s 72-24 title game win over Leflore County last year, was named the MVP of the game once again this year.
- Big Game — After six big state championship games ended yet another “season” over the weekend, there are still a pair of prep football all-star games left to play before officially bringing down the curtain on the 2022 campaign. The biggest one is Saturday as the new Hancock-Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on the campus of the Univerity of South Alabama is the setting for the annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic. Nine players that saw action on championship weekend are set to compete in the game for the Magnolia State, including four of the six “Mr. Football’s” in Dowdell, Perkins, Goss and Jones.