Four Down Territory: Alcorn reaches rare air in the SWAC; MHSAA Class 6A will have another new champion

Published 10:32 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

You’re in Four Down Territory. Each week we’ll spotlight four notes, nuggets, stats or trends from the weekend that was in Mississippi high school football, college football, and the NFL.

It took Alcorn State 14 years to win its first Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division championship. It hasn’t failed to do it since.

Alcorn’s 24-3 win over Jackson State on Saturday clinched the program’s fifth consecutive division title and sent it into the SWAC championship game on Dec. 1 against either Grambling or Southern. Alcorn will host the game, which is being held at a campus site for the first time in its 20-year history, at Jack Spinks Stadium.

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Tickets went on sale Monday, online The cost of tickets ranges from $30 to $60. Student tickets, which will not be available the day of the game, go for $20 and a Gold Card is required. Children under 2 get in for free.

Alcorn’s five East Division titles are tied with Jackson State and Alabama A&M for the most in the championship game era that started in 1999, but no other team has won five in a row.

Southern has won the West title five times, and Grambling holds the record for most division titles with 10 in the West. One of those two teams will have won the West championship in seven of the past eight seasons after Saturday’s Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

The end of South Panola’s dynasty earlier this decade has led to an era of parity in Mississippi Class 6A football.

Brandon knocked off Pearl 34-33 last week in the MHSAA Class 6A South quarterfinals, meaning that for the eighth season in a row there will not be a repeat champion in the state’s largest classification. It’s the longest such stretch since a 12-year run from the start of the MHSAA playoffs in 1984 until Moss Point repeated in 1996-97.

South Panola was the last team to repeat, when it won in 2009 and 2010. The Tigers also won in 2012 and 2014.

Among the MHSAA’s five other classifications, four of last year’s state champions — West Point, Jefferson Davis County, Taylorsville and Simmons — remain alive.

The makeup of Class 6A’s final four is also unique. Oak Grove is looking to return to the state championship game for the third time in five seasons, but is the only remaining team to have made more than one appearance in the finals.

Brandon (2012) and Madison Central (1999) have made it to the championship game once each. Horn Lake had never even been past the second round until this year.

Mississippi State crushed Arkansas 52-6 on Saturday to close out a dominant showing at home this season.

The Bulldogs went 6-1 at Davis Wade Stadium, marking the third time since 2000 that they’ve won six or more home games in a season. They did not allow a rushing touchdown at home, and will carry a streak of 10 consecutive quarters without allowing any sort of touchdown into next season’s home opener against Southern Miss.

Visitors only scored a total of three touchdowns and 60 points in the seven games at Davis Wade this season. The point total is the fewest of any Southeastern Conference team in its home games. Only Mississippi State, Alabama (71) and LSU (95) allowed less than 100 points at home for the entire season.

The New Orleans Saints made history on Sunday with their 48-7 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles, and are on course to challenge an NFL record.

The Saints surpassed the 40-point mark for the sixth time this season, which ties the record for the most in the Super Bowl era. They also became the fourth team in NFL history to score 45 or more in three consecutive games.

The Saints are on pace to finish with exactly 600 points for the season. The 2013 Denver Broncos, who finished with 606, are the only team in NFL history to score more than 600. Twenty teams have scored 500 or more.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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