At a Glance: MAIS State Championships

Greenville St. Joe quarterback Brice Johnson.

CLASS AAAA, DIVISION I

JACKSON PREP (12-0) vs. PARKLANE ACADEMY (10-2)

Kickoff: Friday, 6 p.m., Mississippi College

Parklane Academy at a Glance

Coach: Brian Stutzman

State Championships: 1994, 1993, 1989, 1987, 1986

State Championship Appearances: 1994, 1993, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986

Players to Watch: RB/DB Jay Smith, RB/DB Trent Coleman, QB Brandt Watson, FB/DE Kyrin Bickham, LB Mason Stinson

How they got here: First round bye; def. Jackson Academy 36-34

Coach Speak: “Haven’t made it in 23 years and the community is excited about being back,” Brian Stutzman said. “Prep is the premier program in the MAIS and they are a great team. We feel like if we can get a couple stops and control the clock and do what we do than we will be fine.”

Jackson Prep at a Glance

Coach: Ricky Black

State Championships: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1991, 1990, 1988, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1977, 1974, 1972, 1971.

State Championship Appearances: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1991, 1990, 1988, 1986, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1977, 1974, 1972, 1971.

Players to Watch: RB Jerrion Ealy, QB Chance Lovertich, DB Cooper Carroll, FB Reed Peets, WR/DB Maddox Henry

How they got here: First round bye; def. MRA 42-7

Coach Speak: “We don’t hide the subject about winning six in a row just talk about it and know it’s out there. Players don’t think about it much at all,” Ricky Black said. “It’s about the achievement this team is going to have. It’s a different team”

Buzz: Jackson Prep is going for the historic sixth straight state championship in the MAIS’ highest classification, while Parklane is in state title game for first time since 1994. The Patriots are led by the duo of running back Jerrion Ealy and quarterback Chance Lovertich. Ealy has rushed for 1,613 yards with 30 touchdowns and has also got 565 yards receiving with eight touchdowns. Lovertich has tossed for 2,143 yards with 30 touchdowns. The Patriot defense only allows 10.3 points per game. Parklane is led by a potent running game that averages 314 yards per game led by running backs Jay Smith (1,476 yards, 20 touchdowns) and Trent Coleman (1,249 yards, 14 touchdowns). Prep offense just too much.

Pick: Jackson Prep 35-21

 

CLASS AAAA, DIVISION II

LAMAR SCHOOL (10-3) vs. SIMPSON ACADEMY (9-4)

Kickoff: Saturday, 6:30 p.m., at Jackson Academy

Lamar School at a Glance

Coach: Mac Barnes

State Championships: 2016, 2013, 2007, 2003

State Championship Appearances: 2016, 2013, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2003, 1982

Players to Watch: QB Joseph Hutchinson, RB/DB J.T. McClelland, WR/LB D.J. McGrew, WR Parker Neal, WR Elon Presley

How they got here: First round bye; def. Washington School 48-7

Coach Speak: “We’ve got to be multiple on offense whereas Simpson will run down your throat,” Barnes said. “We got a to produce because Simpson does run it, but they can score quickly.”

Simpson Academy at a Glance

Coach: Dan Napier

State Championships: 2013, 2011, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1973

State Championship Appearances: 2013, 2011, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1997, 1973

Players to Watch: QB/DB Ethan Flynt, RB/DB Dylan Hallman, RB/LB Cook Weathersby, WR/DB Zach Ainsworth, OL/DL Jerrad Bridges

How they got here: def. East Rankin 46-21; def. Pillow Academy 36-15

Coach Speak: “Their offense is the modern-day offense, whereas our offense goes back 50 years,” Dan Napier said. “Our offense requires a lot of hitting and execution. Whoever executes the most Saturday will come out on top.”

 

Buzz: Lamar and Simpson met on Oct. 20 and the Raiders won in a shootout 63-55. Don’t expect that many points scored in this one. Raiders will lean on the explosive offense that averages 198.4 yards per game passing and 174 yards per game rushing led by Joseph Hutchinson, J.T. McClelland and three receivers that have over 700 yards a piece. Cougars are a run heavy offense that is led by Dylan Hallman, Cook Weathersby and Ethan Flynt. Simpson is 5-1 overall in state championship games and have won the last five times they’ve played for a state title (last time was 2013). The Raiders go back to back.

Pick: Lamar School 28-21

 

CLASS AAA

INDIANOLA ACADEMY (13-0) vs. STARKVILLE ACADEMY (12-1)

Kickoff: Saturday, 2:30 p.m., at Jackson Academy

Indianola Academy at a Glance

Coach: Tommy Nester

State Championships: 2016, 1976, 1975, 1973

State Championship Appearances: 2016, 2015, 1982, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973

Players to Watch: WR/DB T.K. Bolden, QB/DB Will Davis, RB/DB Sebastian Harris, RB/DB Dede Willis, OL/LB Jack Dodd.

How they got here: def. North Delta 45-12; def. Leake Academy 28-0; def. Columbia Academy 43-16

Coach Speak: “You got to have good players to get back here three years in a row,” said Indianola Academy coach Tommy Nester. “Starkville is very good football team and we will have to play our best game of the year to be on top.”

Starkville Academy at a Glance

Coach: Chase Nicholson

State Championships: 2005, 1985, 1977, 1976, 1975, 1974

State Championship Appearances: 2014, 2011, 2005, 1985, 1977, 1976, 1975, 1974

Players to Watch: QB/LB Ben Owens, QB/DE Noah Methvin, RB/DB Taylor Arnold, RB/DB Nason Heflin, DE Kyle Faver

How they got here: def. Park Place 41-0; def. Central Hinds 30-0; def. Adams Christian 31-0

Coach Speak: “For us we’ve got to have big plays in the passing gameand we got to run the ball,” Nicholson said. “We got to make them get uncomfortable. They love to run the ball.”

 

Buzz: This one will be the battle of the running game and defense. Indianola Academy won the regular season matchup 35-21 back on Sept. 1. Indianola Academy is going for back to back AAA state titles and is the in the AAA state title for the third straight year. The Colonels are averaging just over 200 yards per game led by running backs Sebastian Harris, Dede Willis and quarterback Will Davis. Defensively, the Colonels only allow 13.9 points per game. Starkville Academy is balanced offensively averaging 125 yards per game rushing and 110 yards passing led by Ben Owens, Noah Methvin, Taylor Arnold and Nason Heflin. The Volunteer only allows 9.5 points per game. Starkville Academy is in state title game for first time since 2014 and seeking first state title since 2005. It’ll be a close one, but Colonels three peat.

Pick: Indianola Academy 24-20

 

CLASS AA

GREENVILLE ST. JOSEPH (10-2) vs. TRI-COUNTY ACADEMY (9-4)

Kickoff: Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at Jackson Academy

Greenville St. Joseph at a Glance

Coach: John Baker

State Championships: None

State Championship Appearances: First appearance

Players to Watch: QB Brice Johnson (Navy commit), WR/DB Jonathan Jordan, WR/DB Tre Adams, WR/LB Reggie Cotton, DB Dillon Johnson

How they got here: def. Winona Christian 44-0; def. Manchester Academy 35-0; Centreville Academy 33-14

Coach Speak: “Don’t know what to expect with it being first time we’ve played for a state championship in football,” John Baker said. “Special teams can be the difference we feel like we’ve got an edge on that. Brice is only the guy in the backfield most of the time and he makes great decisions and we got playmakers on the outside.”

Tri-County Academy at a Glance

Coach: David Blount

State Championships: 2012, 2011, 1985, 1984

State Championship Appearances: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2000, 1997, 1996, 1990, 1985, 1984, 1978

Players to Watch: WR/DB Garrett Harmon, LB/FB Reed Cliburn, QB/DB Cade Shepherd, OL/DL Trace Saxton, RB Dillon Hendrick

How they got here: def. Oak Hill Academy 33-13; def. Marshall Academy 22-14; def. Prairie View (La.) 36-26

Coach Speak: “We’ve improved the last few weeks after losing four games early. This week will be fun and we got a huge challenge because St. Joe is good,” David Blount said. “We want to try to run the ball and the clock down as much as we can and try to keep their offense on the sideline.”

Buzz: Greenville St. Joe is in a football state championship game for the first time in school history, while Tri-County Academy is the state title for the third straight year and the sixth time in the last nine years. Greenville St. Joe won the regular season matchup 42-7. Irish are very explosive on offense that can score in a hurry. Irish are averaging 189 yards per game passing and 152 yards per game rushing led by quarterback and Navy commit Brice Johnson along with Jonathan Jordan, Dillon Johnson and Reggie Cotton. Rebels will be leaning heavily on the running game led by Cade Shepherd, Dillon Hendrick and Garrett Harmon. The Rebel defense only gives up 17.3 points per game. Irish offense too much to handle.

Pick: Greenville St. Joe 30-20

 

CLASS A

WEST MEMPHIS (ARK.) (10-3) vs. TRINITY EPISCOPAL (7-5)

Kickoff: Thursday, 2:30 p.m., at Jackson Academy

West Memphis (Ark.) at a Glance

Coach: Darrow Anderson

State Championships: 1996

State Championship Appearances: 1996

Players to Watch: QB/LB Parker Benson, RB/DB Thomas Warren, WR/DB Jacob Hatcher, OL/DE Biron Rossell (Louisiana Tech commit), OL/DL Hayden Ellis

How they got here: def. Columbus Christian 49-0; def. Tunica Academy 35-12

Coach Speak: “We had started out 0-2 and since then our seniors have carried us. The kids have consistently gotten better and better each week,” Darrow Anderson said. “Trinity has a team that we’ve haven’t seen all year as far as throwing the football and they have unbelievable athletes.”

Trinity Episcopal at a Glance

Coach: Graham Roberts

State Championships: 2013, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2001, 1989

State Championship Appearances: 2013, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2003, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1975

Players to Watch: WR Jakarius Caston, QB/DB Sterling Yarbrough, WR/DB Dee Fleming, OL/DL Desanto Rollins, OL/DL Kris Genous

How they got here: def. DeSoto (Ark.) 34-0; def. Deer Creek 48-28

Coach Speak: “They got speed all over the field and those two tackles they got are as big as anyone in our league,” Graham Roberts said. “Offensively, we got to create space and get the ball in our playmakers hands. Defensively just try to contain their speed and try not to allow to get them in space.”

Buzz: It’s a pass happy offense against a run heavy offense. Trinity will bring its pass happy offense that averages a little over 200 yards a game led by Sterling Yarbrough, Jakarius Caston and Dee Fleming. Saints are seeking its seventh state title overall and fourth in the last eight years. West Memphis is in the state title game for the second time in school history and first since 1996 (their only state championship). The Black Knights average 323 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Parker Benson (1,037 yards, 8 touchdowns), running backs Thomas Warren (1,330 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Malik Barrow (698 yards, 11 touchdowns). Running game is key for Black Knights in this one.

Pick: West Memphis (Ark.) 23-22

 

MAIS 8-MAN

HUMPHREYS ACADEMY (12-0) vs. BRIARFIELD (LA.) (10-2)

Kickoff: Friday, 11 a.m., at Jackson Academy

Humphreys Academy at a Glance

Coach: Jerry McLendon

State Championships: None

State Championship Appearances: First appearance

Player to Watch: QB Guice Hill, RB Walker Dunn, WR Justin Foxworth, RB Braedon Manna, TE Zach Johnson

How they got here: def. Delta Academy 34-22; def. Prentiss Christian 82-42

Coach Speak: “We knew this year would’ve been the year for us just the amount of experience back,” Jerry Wayne McLendon said. “Their quarterback is elusive, but we got to run the ball first to open up the pass. If we can do that we will be fine.”

Briarfield (La.) at a Glance

Coach: Beau Travis

State Championships: None

State Championship Appearances: 2006

Players to Watch: QB/DB Holt Martin, LB Danny Sullivan, RB/LB Grayson Parker, DE Kade Howard, OL/DL Joey Marsh

How they got here: def. Tallulah (La.) 24-0; def. Riverdale (La.) 22-0

Coach Speak: “Humphreys brings a lot of challenges they have a lot of speed,” Beau Travis said. “Our goal is to use our speed. In 8-Man that is the key obviously, so we will be fine if we are able to get some stops defensively.”

Buzz: It’ll be an all-Rebel matchup. Humphreys Academy is making its first ever appearance in a football state championship game, while Briarfield (La.) is in the state title game for the first time since 2006. Briarfield leans heavily on the running game led by quarterback Holt Martin and running backs Crews Fortenberry and Grayson Parker. Humphreys Academy also likes to lean on the running game led by Guice Hill, Walker Dunn, Braedon Manna and like to utilize Zach Johnson at multiple spots. Justin Foxworth is the top receiver for Humphreys Academy. Its 8-Man so a lot of points will be close, but Humphreys Academy in a close one.

Pick: Humphreys Academy 45-40