PINE BELT (WDAM) - Lumberton 34, Stringer 14
Dre Coleman ran for 263 yards and a score as Lumberton High School ran away from Stringer High School 34-14 Friday night to win the Region 4-1A football championship.
The Panthers (9-2) rushed for 481 yards against the Red Devils (7-5), piling up 584 yards total offense.
Thing was, Lumberton should have done better, Coach Zach Jones said.
"We had almost 600 yards of offense, but, dadgum, we were inside the 25 (-yard line) six times and we did not score," Jones said, "and we have to find a way to fix that.
"Some of that's on me, but we have to find a way to fix that because that will get us beat in the playoffs."
The victory sends the Panthers into the playoffs as the top seed from Region 4-1A. Lumberton will host French Camp Academy (5-7) in a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday.
While Jones had issues with the Panthers' offense, he said he's liked what he seen of Lumberton's defense the past few weeks.
"Our defense is playing their best football," Jones said. "They're getting better by the week.
"We're stopping the run, and that's the big thing, making people one-dimensional."
Defensive end Jordan Clinton had 15 tackles against Stringer, including 10 solos, and the Panthers picked off the Red Devils three times.
Rodriqus Coleman added 88 yards rushing and a touchdown on 13 carries, as well as running in a 2-point conversion.
Quarterback Jared Tribett completed 5 of 17 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard scoring toss on the first play of the game.
Donnell Buckner had three catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while Davion Edwards had a 2-point conversion run.
Stringer will travel to Sebastopol High School (8-4) at 7 p.m. The Red Devils defeated the Bobcats 39-28 on Oct. 21.
Hattiesburg 49, Stone 33
Raheem Willis returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, and the Tigers never looked back , clinching second place in Region 4-5A by topping the Tomcats.
Hattiesburg High School (9-3) led 21-0 after a quarter and 35-14 at halftime.
"What better way to start a game then to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown," Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said. "It really set the tone for the first half, and we played a really, really solid first half.
"That was probably the best half that we've played all year on both sides of the ball and on special teams."
The Tigers earned the host role in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs, and will welcome Brookhaven High School (8-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.
"They're probably the best three seed in the state," Vance said. "I'm sitting here watching them on film, and they are loaded, man.
"But, when you're going for a state championship, you're going to be playing good people. It's been a long time coming, hosting a playoff game in the first round, and we're excited about it. Our players are excited about it, the community is excited about it and our fans are excited about it."
Special teams contributed another score in the third quarter. Jarod Conner blocked a Stone High School field goal that Dennis Payton scooped up and returned for a touchdown.
The Tigers also blocked an extra point and a punt during the game.
Drexlan Allen rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns, Fabian Franklin added 57 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and Jarod Conner rushed twice for 14 yards and a score.
Both Allen and Franklin left the game with twisted ankles, but Vance said neither injury is considered serious.
Quarterback Julian Conner completed 10 of 16 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 59 yards on nine carries.
D'Andre Humbles caught two passes for 22 yards and a score, while Jordan Murphy had four receptions for 37 yards.
Stone was led by running back Terrion Avery, who had 290 yards rushing and a touchdown on 35 carries.
Between the Bricks
The past two seasons, the road to the Class 5A state championship had passed through Waynesboro or Laurel.
That could very well be the case for a third, consecutive season.
Laurel High School rolled up 520 total yards offense Friday night, while its defense turned away three first-half scoring opportunities before allowing just 26 yards in the second half as the Golden Tornadoes ran away from Wayne County High School 41-7.
Led by linebacker Darius Townsend (four sacks), the Tornadoes came up with three takeaways in the first half, including fumble recoveries by Townsend and Jaques Bester and an interception by Jalon Thigpen.
Justin Jones ended the War Eagles' opening possession of the second half with an interception at the goal line, and Wayne County never got untracked again.
The War Eagles managed just two first downs and 26 yards rushing in the second half.
Penalties (by game's end, 14 flags for minus 113 yard) and uneven execution hindered Laurel in the first half, with the Golden Tornadoes up just 14-7 at the break.
The penalties remained a nuisance in the second half, but as far as the offensive execution, that all changed.
Laurel scored on its first, three offensive possessions of the half, and mixed in a Dontario Drummond 53-yard punt return for good measure.
Quarterback Tyquan Ulmer completed 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards with two interceptions, both in the first half. He threw a 34-yard scoring pass t Je'vah Jones in the first half, then found Drummond for two scores in the second half.
Michael Terrell ran for a pair of scores as well, a touchdown run in each half.
The result: the Tornadoes won their ninth consecutive game and will carry a head of steam into a first-round Class 5A playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday with Stone High (8-3).
North Forrest 42, Star 7
After dropping the first five games of its football season, North Forrest High School bounced back to claim the Region 8-2A championship.
Now, the Eagles have set their sights higher.
Freshman Eric Robinson ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass as North Forrest rolled past Loyd Star High School 42-7 Friday night in Eatonville in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs.
"After all the losses, we just tried to find ways to keep the guys motivated," North Forrest coach Anthony Dillon said. "We just told them that the season's not over, that, yes, we wanted to win those games, but those are not the games that are going to get us to Starkville (site of the state championship games)."
The Eagles (5-5) also were able to add playmakers in the offense beyond workhorse Christian Williams.
Friday night, Robinson scored three times in the first half to help the Eagles to a 42-0 halftime lead over the Hornets (4-8).
Robinson had touchdown runs of 32 yards and 10 yards and a 42-yard touchdown catch. He rushed three times for 43 yards and caught three passes for 100 yards.
Williams ran for 81 yards on nine carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run. Terence Keyser added a 2-yard scoring run and Leon Jones grabbed a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Quarterback Daylyn Croom completed 8 of 13 passes for 150 yards and two scores and gained 57 yards on seven carries.
The Eagles will visit Heidelberg High School (8-4) at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round of the playoffs. The Oilers, which beat Puckett 22-13 in the opening round of the playoffs, defeated North Forrest 22-16 during the regular season.
"It was a very competitive game," Dillon said. "That was our last loss, so it was a little motivating thing for our guys."
Seminary 49, Franklin County 21
Felix McCullum ran for 83 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries and Seminary shut out Franklin County in the second half to claim a Class 3A opening-round playoff victory.
Wendell Crosby rolled for 211 yards and a score on 16 carries, while quarterback Jeff Miller also ran for a touchdown. All told, Seminary rushed for 396 yards.
Tyveron Morgan, who ran for 84 yards on eight carries, returned a fumble 79 yards to open the scoring and also had an interception.
Seminary (9-3) led 27-21 at halftime before outscoring Wilkinson County (5-7) 22-0 in the second half
Seminary will visit Southeast Lauderdale High School (6-5) at 7 p.m. Friday in Meridian. The Tigers went on the road and defeated Morton High School 49-42 in a Class 3A opening-round playoff game.
Purvis 10, Moss Point 3
John Oliver ran for 101 yards and scored the game's only touchdown on a 14-yard run as the Tornadoes won an opening-round Class 4A playoff game Friday night.
Purvis (8-3) will visit West Lauderdale (`12-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in Collinsville in the second round of the playoffs.
Dylan Curtis interception and return set up Oliver's touchdown run. The Tornadoes wound up with three takeaways, including two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Chuck Cook helped seal the win when he recovered a fumble by Moss Point (5-6) with four minutes left in the game.
Mason Kendrick, stepping in for injured quarterback Ty Howell, completed 7 of 14 passes for 93 yards, while C.J. Bolar caught four balls for 60 yards.
Steven Anderson had a 34-yard field goal for the Tornadoes.
East Central 48, Forrest County AHS 14
Evan Clark threw a pair of touchdown passes, but the Aggies could not contain East Central running back Tony Brown in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Brown ran for 211 yards and four touchdowns to bring the curtain down on the season for FCAHS (4-7).
Kijana Breland caught a 48-yard touchdown pass, while Bryce Bass caught a 10-yard touchdown for the Aggies.
East Central (8-4) will visit Florence High School (10-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Jackson Wingfield 22, West Jones 17
John Oliver ran for 104 yards and a touchdown for the Mustangs, but the Falcons scored late to clinch a spot in the Class 5A playoffs Friday night.
West Jones (5-6) had been eliminated from playoff contention the prior week.
Hunter Parrish completed 8 of 25 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, while Garrick Randolph had four catches for 69 yards and a score.
Walker Thompson kicked a 31-yard field goal for the Mustangs.
Wingfield (7-4) will travel to Picayune High School (10-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.