The Hattiesburg Tigers will keep the Lil’ Brown Jug in Hattiesburg after beating Laurel High School 31-20 on Saturday night in the 95th edition of the storied rivalry.
The Tigers looked like they would cruise to their third-straight win in the series when senior wide receiver Shakeenan West took the last play of the third quarter 17 yards to the end zone to make it a 25-6 Hattiesburg advantage.
But the Golden Tornadoes’ sophomore running back Michael Terrell would score two touchdowns from the ground in the fourth quarter, the latter coming with 5:18 left in the game and cutting the Tigers’ lead to 25-20.
Ultimately, Hattiesburg quarterback Julian Conner’s legs would break Laurel’s backs as the senior scrambled 33 yards to the end zone, extending the Tigers lead to 31-20 with 42 seconds to play and securing their possession of the Lil’ Brown Jug for one more year.
In a contest that first kicked off in 1922, Hattiesburg’s 2016 victory narrows Laurel’s all-time series lead to 47-43-5.
Before the Golden Tornadoes made things interesting in the fourth quarter, the Tigers controlled the game most of the way.
Junior running back Fabian Franklin put Hattiesburg’s first points on the board with a 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Franklin added a second touchdown in the first as the Tigers would lead 16-0 before Laurel’s first points of the game. Levi Walker leaped over the goal line late in the second quarter, cutting Hattiesburg’s lead to 16-6 as the first half ended.
Franklin left after the first quarter and wouldn’t return. He came out for the second half without pads or a helmet but did not seem to be seriously injured. No news of an injury was disclosed.
Hattiesburg’s next game comes against Collins at home on Friday while Laurel hosts Oak Grove Sept. 2.