Oak Grove beats Starkville for Class 7A championship; Winona takes first state title, Louisville its 12th

Published 12:26 am Sunday, December 3, 2023

OXFORD — Oak Grove knocked off the king of the mountain and took his place.

A.J. Maddox completed 15 of 20 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, Kylin Champagne rushed for 70 yards and a TD, and Oak Grove beat Starkville 33-28 in the MHSAA Class 7A championship game Saturday night at Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Oak Grove (13-1) won its third state championship, and second in four seasons. It also won in 2013 and 2020, and lost in four other championship games since 2009.

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Starkville (10-4) won the Class 6A title last season — the MHSAA added a seventh classification this year — but never led Saturday night.

Champagne’s 1-yard touchdown run and a 63-yard interception return TD by Jalen Owens staked Oak Grove to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. A trick play on fourth-and-goal resulted in a 3-yard touchdown pass from receiver Damari Jefferson to Nehemiah Taylor and a 30-12 lead with 5:32 to go in the third quarter.

Starkville’s Trey Petty, an Illinois commit and Mr. Football in Class 7A, threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to keep his team in the game, but the Yellowjackets could never get over the hump.

Petty’s 7-yard TD pass to Jontavious Rogers with 4:15 left in the game got Starkville to within 33-28. Starkville’s last two possessions, however, both ended on downs inside their own territory.

Petty finished 9-of-25 passing for 138 yards, and ran for 49 yards.

Luke Stewart kicked two field goals for Oak Grove.

Class 3A
Winona 34, Noxubee County 27
Chase Richardson rushed for 294 yards and four touchdowns, and passed for 135 more yards to lead Winona (15-0) past Noxubee County (9-6) for the Class 3A championship.

Winona, which played its first football game in 1905, won its first state title in the MHSAA’s playoff era and had its first undefeated season since 1954. It scored at least 30 points in every game this season.

Richardson scored on runs of 58, 5, 2 and 51 yards. His last three touchdowns came after Noxubee County had taken a 19-6 halftime lead, and the 51-yarder that capped the burst put the Tigers ahead 27-19.

Zaishun Nash added a 46-yard touchdown run with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter to pad the lead. Noxubee’s KaMario Taylor threw a 58-yard TD pass to Dequadrion Welch with 5:09 to go, but Winona put together an eight-play, 81-yard drive that bled off the remaining time.

Nash finished with 80 rushing yards on 12 carries for Winona.

Noxubee County only had 22 rushing yards, but Taylor was 25-of-41 passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Welch caught seven passes for 90 yards and two TDs, and Jaylen King had six receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown.

Class 4A
Louisville 19, Columbia 6
One of Mississippi’s most storied high school football programs added yet another trophy to its collection.

Xavier Hunt went 6-of-8 passing for 109 yards, and had 47 rushing yards with two touchdowns to lead Louisville over Columbia (14-1) for the Class 4A title. Hunt was named the game’s MVP.

Louisville’s defense sacked Columbia quarterback Collin Haney four times, intercepted him twice, and recovered one fumble. Columbia only had 186 yards of total offense.

Louisville (15-0) won its 12th state title overall, second in a row, and fourth in six years. The Wildcats tied West Point for the most state titles in the MHSAA. They have never lost a state championship game.

West Point won its 12th by beating Laurel 35-7 in the Class 5A championship game on Thursday.

MHSAA championship games
At Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford
Nov. 30
Class 1A – Biggersville 53, Velma Jackson 49
Class 5A – West Point 35, Laurel 7

Dec. 1
Class 2A – Charleston 26, Heidelberg 22
Class 6A – West Jones 23, Grenada 3

Dec. 2
Class 4A – Louisville 19, Columbia 6
Class 3A – Winona 34,. Noxubee County 27
Class 7A –  Oak Grove 33, Starkville 28