Pearl edges Starkville for Class 6A football title

Published 11:19 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

OXFORD — Pearl finished the season right where it started — all alone on top of Class 6A.
Tylan Knight ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score, and the Pirates beat Starkville 21-17 Friday night to win the MHSAA Class 6A football championship.

Pearl (15-0), last season’s runner-up, went wire-to-wire as the state’s best team. It was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A in the preseason Associated Press poll and completed the first undefeated season in school history.

Pearl also became just the second team from the South half of the bracket, and first since Oak Grove in 2013, to win the Class 6A title since the MHSAA added it in 2009.

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Johnny Winston ran for 63 yards and a touchdown for Pearl, and Knight added 35 yards and a TD in a defensive battle. Johnquarise Patterson caught 13 passes for 119 yards.

For Starkville (12-3), Rodrigues Clark ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Neither team surpassed the 300-yard mark in total offense despite being the two highest-scoring teams in Class 6A.

Taylorsville 41, Winona 26

Tycarius Roberts rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns to lead Taylorsville past Winona for the Class 2A title.

Ty Keyes completed 18 of 25 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns for the Tartars (15-1), who scored 20 consecutive points in the second half to pull away after Winona had cut it to 14-13.
Roberts scored on runs of 9 and 18 yards during the decisive surge.

Jatyler Moore carried the ball 19 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns for Winona (11-4). He also threw a TD pass.

Taylorsville won its sixth state championship, but first since 2002.

Simmons 22, Nanih Waiya 20

Demarrius Turner ran for two touchdowns in the last 6 1/2 minutes Friday to lead an epic comeback by Hollandale Simmons that ended with its third consecutive Class 1A championship.

Simmons (15-0) completed its third straight undefeated season and ran its winning streak to 40 games in a row.

Nanih Waiya (15-1) had taken a 20-6 lead on Chris Smith’s second touchdown of the game with 10:58 to go.

Turner scored on a 43-yard run with 6:26 to go, and then a 4-yard run with 1:32 remaining to tie the game. Marquez Pam ran for two-point conversions following each touchdown to give Simmons a 22-20 lead.

Nanih Waiya moved the ball to the Simmons 36 on its final drive before self-destructing. A holding penalty pushed it back across the 50, and quarterback Bryce Stanton threw three straight incompletions to force a turnover on downs.

Turner finished the game with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Simmons, and Pam had 139 yards and one touchdown. The Blue Devils totaled 306 yards on the ground.

Smith had 129 total yards and two touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving — for Nanih Waiya.