Laurel falls in Class 5A title game to West Point

Laurel falls in Class 5A title game to West Point
The Laurel football team; Source: Taylor Curet WDAM

STARKVILLE, MS (WDAM) - West Point High School played a game of keep-away with Laurel High School Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium.

And even when the Golden Tornadoes' high-powered offense was on the field, the Green Wave didn't let it do all that much.

Laurel managed just 98 yards on 34 offensive snaps as West Point defeated the Golden Tornadoes 29-8 in the Class 5A Mississippi high school football championship game.

The Green Wave (14-1), which won 12 consecutive games to finish the season, claimed its eighth state football championship in 10 title game appearances.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," said junior Marcus Murphy, who ran for 141 yards and three touchdowns. "It was a battle, but we'd been working for this."

For West Point, that meant running the football. The Green Wave tallied 326 yards total offense, with 307 yards coming on the ground.

"We practiced for this, and practice makes perfect, you know?" Murphy said. "We did what we had to do."

Which were run 71 plays to Laurel's 35 and hold the football on offense for 33 minutes, 50 seconds, of the 48-minute game.

Laurel (13-2) came in averaging about 40 points and 421 yards a game, including an average of nearly 254 passing yards a game.

But with the cold, rainy conditions and a clinging, swarming West Point defense, the Golden Tornadoes' big-play offense never hit stride.

Quarterback Tyquan Ulmer, who had thrown for 3,162 yards and 41 touchdowns this season, threw for 237 yards and four scores in Laurel's victory in the South State final against Picayune High School.

Saturday night, Ulmer completed 5 of 16 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Standout receiver Dontario Drummond, who came into the game with 78 catches for 1,568 yards and 19 touchdowns, grabbed just two passes for 24 yards against West Point.

"The weather, I'm sure it caused us some problems, but when you get down to it, we just made too many mistakes, and West Point had a lot to do with that," Laurel coach Todd Breland said. "They are a great football team.

"They were the preseason No. 1, and we weren't ranked, but here we were, and I'm awful proud of them. They fought like they always do, but we just came up short."

West Point took a 10-0 lead on Jose Garcia's 30-yard field goal and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Clayton Knight to Semaje Harris.

Laurel, which saw an 11-game winning streak snapped, cut the deficit to 10-6 on Ulmer's 24-yard pass to Je'vah Jones.

The Golden Tornadoes got within 10-8, when Jalon Thigpen blocked a punt that West Point was forced to fall on in its own end zone.

But the second half was all West Point.

Murphy scored on runs of 3 yards, 2 yards and 1 yard, while the closest Laurel got to the scoreboard again was a potential touchdown pass that was caught beyond the end line of end zone and a missed field goal.

"It was really fun," Murphy said. "A state championship."