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Starkville falls on final play


From Special Reports



OLIVE BRANCH -- Olive Branch High School quarterback Todd Mays scrambled under the pressure Friday night from the oncoming Starkville defense. 


The Yellow Jackets had just finished celebrating a 6-yard scoring pass from Jaquez Johnson to Shaquille Hill -- their third of the game -- with 6.5 seconds on the game clock. 


Mays knew no time was left on the scoreboard and that his Conquistadors were behind in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 1 contest. 


So Mays flung a miracle pass to a wide-open De''Arthur Cowan, who snagged the football at the 20-yard line and ran untouched to give Olive Branch a 40-36 victory. 


Although Mays will be remembered for his touchdown pass, he also rushed 13 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns. 


Starkville''s Johnson was 13 of 28 for 153 yards and three touchdowns -- all to Hill -- while running 22 times for 67 yards and two scores. 


Olive Branch opened the scoring with a 1-yard run by Mays. Johnson answered with a 1-yard scoring run for Starkville. 


On the ensuing kickoff, Jap Payne returned it 98 yards to give Olive Branch the upper hand. Johnson, however, connected with Hill for their first touchdown pass, a 27-yarder. Daniel Fumo opened the second quarter for Starkville with a 21-yard field goal. 


Hays put Olive Branch ahead 21-17 after he ran in from 17 yards. But the Johnson-to-Hill connection put another touchdown on the board before halftime for a 24-21 Starkville lead. 


Cowan scored in the third quarter on a 9-yard pass from Mays to take the lead. Johnson scored from 2 yards to push Starkville back in front before the deciding fourth-quarter fireworks. 


Hill''s six receptions amounted to 103 yards for Starkville. 


  • Starkville Academy 34, Magnolia Heights 22: At Starkville, the Volunteers scored twice in the second quarter to grab the lead and never looked back. 


    Starkville Academy scored first on Matt Ward''s 37-yard run, but the Chiefs scored twice to grab a 16-6 lead. Both touchdowns came on miscues, a 30-yard interception return and a fumble recovery at the goal line. 


    In the second quarter, the Volunteers rallied thanks to a 1-yard touchdown by Kyle Henson. He also threw a 20-yard pass to Ryan McKell for a 20-16 halftime margin. 


    In the third quarter, McKell fell on a fumble at the goal for a touchdown. After Magnolia Heights scored on a 38-yard pass, Jenson added a 36-yard touchdown run. 


    Ward led the Volunteers with 90 rushing yards on 20 carries. Ryan Mann had a team-high eight tackles, followed by Stephen Robertson with six. 


  • Central Academy 44, Calvary Christian 14: At Meridian, the Vikings built a 38-6 halftime lead to coast to their ninth straight victory in the undefeated season. 


    Central Academy (9-0) will face Kemper Academy in a Mississippi Association for Independent Schools Eight-Man District 1 title showdown next week in DeKalb. The victory knocked Calvary Christian out of the playoff picture. 


    Central Academy scored on touchdowns by Cole Newman (two 8-yard runs and a 3-yard run), Will Disbrow (21-yard pass from Newman), Jay Jones (19-yard run), and Rowdy Rigdon (15-yard pass from Newman). 


    n Aberdeen 70, South Pontotoc 14: At Aberdeen, the Bulldogs clinched the MHSAA Class 3A, Region 2 title with a scoring barrage. 


    Running back Victor Hodges carried 11 times for 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first half, scoring on runs of 56 and 63 yards. South Pontotoc scored in the first quarter on Deonte Dilworth''s 14-yard touchdown. 


    The Bulldogs (9-1, 4-0 region) scored on quarterback Desmond Jones'' 11-yard run, Channing Ward''s 25 yard pass reception, and Brandon Smith''s 24-yard interception return. 


    South Pontotoc''s Alex Pannell threw a touchdown pass to Evan Kidd before Aberdeen scored on Chico Harrison''s 44-yard run, Tevin Jones'' 49-yard run, and eighth-grade quarterback Josh Williams'' 18-yard run. 


  • Hamilton 21, Ackerman 20: At Hamilton, Hamilton stayed alive in the playoff picture and must beat J.Z. George next week for the MHSAA Class 2A, Region 2 No. 4 playoff seed. 


    Hamilton''s game-winner was a 55-yard pass from Zarratt Sims to Austin Welch and John Alvo''s PAT kick with less than three minutes to play.  


    Hamilton (4-6, 1-3 region) pulled within 14-7 when Welch threw to Cojuante McMillian and Noe Cugny converted a 90-yard touchdown pass from McMillian.  


    Ackerman drove to Hamilton''s 40 in the final minute before the Lions held on downs to preserve the win.  


  • East Webster 34, J.Z. George 6: At Maben, the Wolverines outrushed the visitors 306-199 yards to go to 10-0. 


    Five East Webster players crossed the goal line. The first one was Demetrius O''Briant from 5 yards out in the first quarter. Timakis Bell also scored on an 8-yard run. 


    In the second quarter, Ledrick Patterson scored on a 10-yard run to give the Wolverines a 21-0 halftime lead. 


    Terry Shaw blocked a punt for East Webster and Josh Gladney returned it 8 yards for the touchdown in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Patterson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Miguel Graham. 


    Damien Britt had 10 tackles to lead East Webster. O''Briant and Graham each had seven. 


    East Webster ends the regular season against MHSAA Class 2A, Region 2 opponent West Lowndes at home Friday. 


  • Amory 55, Houston 48: At Amory, coach Trent Hammond praised his Panthers for their ability to bounce back to win the Class 4A, Region 4 game. 


    "We were down 14 points in the first half and then down again 14 points to start the second half," Hammond said. "That should put us in the playoffs. We had to win by five points to make it in the playoffs." 


    The Panthers had to make a last-second drive and score at least one point to make the postseason party. 


    "I am really proud of our kids," Hammond said. "We were 70 yards away from the goal with less than a minute to play. We missed a field goal from 37 yards, but they were called for offsides, so Madison Francis made it from 32 yards with seven seconds to play." 


    Dario Robinson caught eight passes for 247 yards and one touchdown for the Panthers, while Forest Williams had 465 yards passing and more than 100 yards rushing. 


  • Winston Academy 47, Canton Academy 21: At Louisville, the Patriots did all their scoring in three quarters to even their record at 4-4. 


    Tyler Sullivan passed for three touchdowns and ran for two to lead Winston Academy. He threw for scores of 17, 9, and 22 yards and rushed for 3- and 2-yard touchdowns. 


    Tyler Golson caught two of the touchdown passes and returned an interception 50 yards for a score. Austin Flake had one touchdown reception, and J.P. Arnett had an 8-yard scoring run. 


    Winston Academy will end the regular season Friday at home against Oak Hill Academy.



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