MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - BRANDON _ There was likely no phone booth to be found at the Brandon High School football stadium, and besides, a silly cape would have been a hinderance on a stormy, soggy Friday night.
But when Oak Grove High School needed him most, senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee stepped up, helping the Warriors to a come-from-behind 21-10 victory over the Bulldogs in the Class 6A South State championship game.
The Warriors (12-2) avenged a regular-season loss to Brandon by scoring a pair of touchdowns in span of 2 minutes, 19 seconds, in the fourth quarter to erase a 10-7 Bulldogs’ lead.
The win gave Oak Grove their fifth South State title, and sent them into the Class 6A state championship football game set for 7 p.m. Friday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippicampus in Hattiesburg.
Oak Grove, which won a state championship in 2013, last reached the state title game in 2014, when it lost to South Panola High School.
The Warriors will face against Horn Lake High School (14-0), a 16-7 winner over Madison Central High School in Friday’s North State title game. The Eagles will be playing for the first state crown in school history.
Plumlee rushed for 176 yards on 20 carries and scored twice on the ground in bookend fashion.
He scored on a 1-yard run on the final play of the first half to give the Warriors a 7-0 halftime lead in a steady rain, capping an eight-play, 78-yard drive. Plumlee also hooked up twice with senior tight end Rasaiah Ruffin on two big passes, a 40-yarder that got the ball into Bulldog territory and a 19-yarder on a fourth-and-6 play down to the 1.
Brandon (13-2) rallied in the third quarter to tie the game, scoring on Dallas Smith’s 5-yard after a 72-yard pass from Will Rogers to Jonathan Mingo.
Another big pass play, a 73-yard completion to Jay Stanley, set up the Bulldogs first-and-goal early in the fourth period, but the Warriors rose up and forced Brandon to settle for a field goal and a 10-7 lead with 8:31 left to play.
The Warriors went back to work, with senior running back Jarius Smith capping an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to give Oak Grove a 14-10 lead with 4:49 left in the game.
Smith would finish with 99 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries.
After forcing a Brandon punt, Plumlee brought down the curtain with a 48-yard scoring run that iced the game with 2:30 to play.
Poplarville 33, East Central 17
MOSS POINT, MS (WDAM) _ Junior Chase Shears scored on three, long scoring plays in the Battle of the Hornets, as Poplarville won a Class 4A South State championship for the second time in three seasons.
Poplarville (13-1), which has not lost since a 28-20 decision in the season opener against Picayune High School, will take on North State champion, Louisville High School.
The Class 4A championship is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
Louisville (14-1) topped Greenwood High School 17-14 Friday night in the North State title game. The Wildcats will be playing in their ninth state title game, and with eight state championships, has been successful every time they’ve gotten to the last game.
Shears scored on runs of 81 yards and 80 yards and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass to put the Hornets up 19-7.
Junior quarterback Will Young scored on a 15-yard run in between Shears’ second and third scores, and senior Brandon Davis added a 42-yard field goal to get East Central (12-1) within 19-10 at halftime.
But senior Tyson Holston tore off a 35-yard scoring run and senior Antonio Barnes hit junior tight end Devin Hart with a 21-yard touchdown pass as Poplarville avenged a loss in the 2017 Class 4A South State championship game.
Nanih Waiya 28, East Marion 8
LOUISVILLE, MS (WDAM) _ The Eagles’ late-season run came to an end as the Warriors rushed for 412 yards to reach the Class 1A state championship game for a second consecutive season.
Junior Donavan Turner ran for 215 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries and junior Shia Moore rushed for 196 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Moore also added a two-point conversion run for the Warriors (14-1).
The Eagles (8-6), who were looking for their first South State title since 2011, saw a four-game winning streak snapped.
Nanih Waiya will face North State champion Simmons High School (14-0) at 3 p.m. Friday in the Class 1A state title game at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.
The Blue Devils, the three-time defending Class 1A state champions, defeated Smithville High School 20-6 Friday night.
Taylorsville 15, Bay Springs 8
TAYLORSVILLE, MS (WDAM) _ The Tartars slipped past their Region 5-2A rivals for the second time this season to reach the Class 2A state championship football game for the second year in a row.
The Tartars (15-0) won their second consecutive South State crown by extending their winning streak to 25 games. The Bulldogs (11-4) saw a seven-game winning streak snapped.
The Tarttars will face North State champion Scott Central High School at 3 p.m. Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
The Rebels (14-1) defeated Calhoun City High School 27-0 Friday night and will try for a second state championship to go with the title they won in 1999.
2018 MHSAA football title games
M.M. Roberts Stadium
- Oak Grove Warriors (12-2) vs. Horn Lake Eagles (14-0)
- Friday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.
- West Jones Mustangs (12-2) vs. West Point Green Wave (13-1)
- Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
- Poplarville Hornets (13-1) vs. Louisville Wildcats (13-1)
- Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.
- Seminary Bulldogs (12-3) vs. Water Valley Blue Devils (13-2)
- Friday, Nov. 30, 11 a.m.
- Taylorsville Tartars (15-0) vs. Scott Central Rebels (14-1)
- Saturday, Dec. 1, 3 p.m.
- Nanih Wayia Warriors (14-1) vs. Simmons Blue Devils (14-0)
- Friday, Nov. 30, 3 p.m.