OXFORD — Armoni Clark wasn’t even the starting quarterback when the season.
After the sixth game of the year, Noxubee County coach made the switch to Clark as the play caller.
Behind the play of Clark and a potent passing attack, the Tigers outlasted East Central 41-35 to claim the MHSAA Class 4A state championship at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It is Noxubee County’s fifth state title overall and third state title in the last four years.
“I told the guys at halftime don’t panic we are just fine and we were going to comeback and win this football game,” said Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter. “This one was for Coach Patterson, one of our assistants that passed away in the spring with cancer. This would’ve been the only time that he would’ve smiled.”
Clark would go 28 of 39 passing for 472 yards with three touchdowns and was named the games Most Valuable Player.
His touchdown passes went to Kyziah Pruitt from 78 yards out to tie the game at 14 with 11:42 left in second quarter.
His second went to Rashad Eades from 51 yards out with 10:53 left in the third quarter to cut the East Central lead to 28-21.
Maliek Stallings from 10 yards out with 3:33 left in the fourth quarter that gave Noxubee the lead for the first time at 41-35.
“Just kept believing in myself and not get down,” Clark said, “I knew when it was my time and had to step up when my team needed me the most. We felt like we had the better athletes in one on one situations and could take advantage.”
Eades was the leading receiver catching 11 passes for 219 yards with a score for Noxubee County (11-4).
“Coach told us don’t give up and dig deep and we would comeback and win this thing,” Eades said. “Everyone believed and came through and it is a great feeling.”
East Central star running back Tony Brown had 108 yards rushing with two touchdowns, but would suffer a dislocated shoulder in the second quarter and would be taken off the field on a stretcher.
“I felt bad for him,” Shorter said. “That kid is a great player and has worked so hard to get to this point. I just hate it for him and hope he gets well soon.”
Cameron Gray had 203 yards rushing and scored on a 74-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to lead the Hornets.
Dylan Grinsteinner and Louis Morgan added rushing touchdowns for East Central (13-1).