FOXWORTH, MS (WDAM) - Two football teams separated by 20 miles will turn to contrasting offenses Friday night to try and attain the same goal: a region championship.
Tylertown High School (9-0, 4-0 Region 8-3A) will visit West Marion High School (8-2, 3-1) at 7 p.m. in a regular-season finale that not only will decide the pecking order for the top three spots in the region but also determine which two teams will host games next week in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
"It's a scenario where if we happen to win by (at least) 10 (points), we win the (region)," West Marion coach Brad Duncan said. "If we win by between nine and five points, we finish second, and if we win by four or less or lose, we're third."
Currently, Tylertown owns top spot after defeating Seminary High School 49-19 last week. Seminary (7-3, 3-1), which defeated West Marion 34-26 on Oct. 7, stands second, while the Trojans are third.
Four teams make the playoffs from each of the eight, Class 3A regions around the state, with the region champ and runner-up earning home-field games for the first round of the playoffs.
Tylertown, Seminary and West Marion already have clinched postseason spots.
The region's fourth team will be determined Friday when Collins High School (2-9, 1-3) visits Perry Central High School (5-5, 1-3) at 7 p.m. in New Augusta.
Tylertown heads into Friday's showdown with an unbeaten season on the line and a chip on its shoulder.
Last fall, the Chiefs were hosting West Marion in the 2015 regular-season finale, leading 16-12 with seconds left to play and needing a win to get home-field advantage in the playoffs.
"Basically, it was the same scenario, but flipped, where we were trying to go for the second spot," Holmes said. "We were down on the goal line, and No. 7 (Braxton Smith), he intercepts it, and turns it into a pick-six, returns it 100 yards for a pick-six, and they win the game 18-16," Tylertown coach Osborne Holmes Jr. said. "So, we've been waiting on this one for a year."
The Chiefs will bring their dominant ground game with them.
Tylertown averages 264.3 yards rushing a game, and four players have run for more than 300 yards this season.
Junior quarterback Da'Bryan Magee has led the way as the triggerman in the Chiefs' double-wing offense, rushing for 645 yards and 10 touchdowns on 110 carries.
Senior Chardarrious Bridges has rushed for 638 yards and four touchdowns on 80 carries, senior Ojavious Magee has collected 571 yards and six touchdowns on 103 carries and junior Ty James has gone for 306 yards and five touchdowns on just 26 carries.
When Tylertown chooses to throw, Magee has been effective and efficient, completing 49 of 88 passes for 777 yards and 13 touchdowns with two interceptions.
The top two receivers have been senior Kevin Jefferson (nine catches, 287 yards, four touchdowns) and junior Johnny Wilson (13 catches, 157 yards, three touchdowns).
"They're really good," Duncan said. "They're undefeated, and when you see them on film, you understand why they're undefeated. They've got a lot of team speed, which you always expect from Tylertown. They're pretty dad-gum good."
As has West Marion, which owns one Class 3A's more prolific passing attacks, averaging 258.3 passing yards a game.
Senior quarterback Adrian Miller, who was cleared to play Thursday after being under concussion protocol this week, has completed 163 of 272 passes (59.9 percent) for 2,443 yards and 31 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
Miller, who converted from wide receiver to quarterback during the off-season, also has been one of the Trojans top rushers, with 532 yards and 10 touchdowns on 94 carries.
Junior Charles Lewis leads a running game that averages 144.5 yards a game. Lewis has run for 743 and eight touchdowns on 131 carries, and also has caught 10 passes for another 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Damien Johnson has been Miller's favorite target, hauling in 70 catches for 1,156 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Junior Cyrus Thompson has 30 catches for 519 yards and seven touchdowns and Stacy Brown has made 16 catches for 446 yards and five touchdowns.
"This is going to be like a playoff game," Holmes said. "West Marion and Tylertown are just 20 minutes away, so it's a big game. It's a rivalry game. But we'll have fun."
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