At first the game was played with a lot of emotions, but in the end it was just another game.
Behind a bend, but not break defense that forced three turnovers Canton Academy held off Tri-County Academy 21-7 to claim the MAIS Class A-AA state championship at Jackson Academy on Thursday afternoon.
It is the Panthers (13-1) fourth state title in school history and first since 1996.
“It was a great game by both teams. Obviously playing with heavy hearts, but each wanted to play a good game and we got one,” said Canton Academy Ron Jurney. “Defense played great tonight. To hold a team like Tri-County to seven points is huge. This is state title is big for our community.”
There was a neat moment to start the game to honor Tri-County Academy senior Taylor Martin who was killed in a single car accident on Tuesday night. Tri-County came on the field with 10 men on offense and held Taylor’s No. 57 jersey. Each team took a knee as the 25 second clock ran out and Canton Academy declined the delay of game penalty.
Quarterback Kyle Kindred went 16 of 27 passing for 240 yards with a touchdown and threw three interceptions to lead Canton Academy. His touchdown pass went 17 yards to Joseph McLean with 7:31 left in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 14-7 lead.
Canton Academy wide receiver Keyshawn Clanton had 98 yards receiving and also had 38 yards rushing with a touchdown.
Ben Barr had the Panthers first score of the game on a 1-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7 with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.
Swayze Bozeman had Tri-County Academy’s lone touchdown on a 3-yard run with 3:49 left in the first quarter that gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
Quarterback Beau Johnson had 245 yards passing to lead Tri-County (12-2).
CANTON ACADEMY 21, TRI-COUNTY ACADEMY 7
Canton Academy (13-1) 7 0 14 0 — 21
Tri-County Academy (12-2) 7 0 0 0 — 7
TCA — Bozeman 3 run (Tackett kick).
CA — Barr 1 run (Lindsey kick).
CA — McLean 17 pass from Kindred (Lindsey kick).
CA — Clanton 1 run (Lindsey kick).