PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) _ There was no need for last-second heroics Friday night when Petal High School welcomed Region 3-6A foe Brandon High School back for a football rematch in the Class 6A South State semifinals.
Senior quarterback DeCarlos Nicholson threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for a third as the Panthers built a 24-7 halftime lead and held off the Bulldogs 27-14.
Petal (12-1) won its ninth consecutive game to advance to the Class 6A South State championship game.
The Panthers will host archrival and defending Class 6A South State champion, Oak Grove High School, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Warriors (10-3) advanced to the South State final with a 42-24 victory at Gulfport High School Friday.
Oak Grove and Petal met during Region 3-6A play, with the Panthers taking a lightning-delayed, 21-7 road victory.
In its regular-season meeting with Brandon, Petal kicked a field goal on the game’s final play to cart away a 27-24 victory.
Friday, Nicholson scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and found senior running back Rashad Handford with a 38-yard touchdown pass that lifted the Panthers to a 14-7 first-quarter lead.
A Nate Jones’ field goal and Nicholson’s touchdown pass to junior Jeremiah Robinson put Petal on top by 17 points at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers continued to crack down defensively, allowing only a touchdown pass from senior Will Rogers to senior Ashton Nickelberry.
Jones capped the scoring with his second field goal.
Nicholson completed 10-of-14 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns and ran for first touchdown of the game.
Senior running back Micah McGowan rushed for 123 yards on 30 carries, while Handford caught two passes for 60 yards and a score.
Robinson caught two passes for 31 yards and a score, while junior Jonathan Harris had four catches for 91 yards.
Rogers completed 22-of-33 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown for Brandon (9-5).
Nickelberry caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Junior Ozzario Smith led the Bulldogs’ ground game with 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
GULFPORT, Miss. (WDAM) _ The Warriors broke open a 14-10 game with three unanswered touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to earn a chance to defend their Class 6A South State title.
Oak Grove (10-3), which won its seventh consecutive game, will visit archrival and Region 3-6A foe, Petal High School, at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Panthers (12-1) defeated Brandon High School 27-14 Friday to advance to the South State final.
Oak Grove senior quarterback Damon Stewart threw touchdown passes to four different receivers _ senior Eric Robinson (33 yards); senior Brandon Hayes (28 yards); senior Tavion Smith (17 yards); and junior Jordan Coleman (35 yards).
Stewart sandwiched a 32-yard touchdown run between scoring passes to Hayes and Smith in the decisive start to the second half.
Robinson, who scored the first touchdown of the game on Stewart’s pass, also scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.
Gulfport (10-3) got a 33-yard touchdown pass from senior Cade Crosby to senior Deshun Shields and a 40-yard field goal from Tres Ladner.
Sophomore running back Tyler Reed added touchdown runs of 10 yards and 8 yards in the second half for the Admirals.
TAYLORSVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) _ The Tartars erased a 7-0 first-quarter deficit with a 21-point second quarter and never looked back in Friday night’s heavyweight Class 2A semifinal brawl between a pair of region champions.
Juniors Jeffery Pittman and Travis Keyes combined to rush for 153 yards and five touchdowns on 21 carries. Pittman had 113 yards and three scores on 15 carries and Keyes added 50 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
Senior Jalon Clark added another 63 yards rushing on five carries against the Tornadoes 12-2).
Junior quarterback Ty Keyes completed 17-of-21 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Juniors Tyrese Keyes (86 yards) and Arterious Miller (48 yards) each had four catches and a touchdown.
The Tartars (13-1), two-time Class 2A South State defending champion, will host Scott Central High School at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class 2A South State championship.
The Rebels (11-2) reached the Class 2A South State title game by downing Enterprise High School 48-0 Friday night.
Scott Central, which was moved into the South after realignment this summer, represented the North in 2018 and defeated Taylorsville last year in the Class 2A state championship game.
Ty Keyes did not play in the 2018 championship game after being inured in the South State championship game.
The teams opened the 2019 season against one another, with the Tartars taking a 32-12 victory.
Six South State champions will be declared Friday, each earning a spot opposite their counterparts from North State in their respective classification’s state championship football game.
All kickoffs are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.
- Richton (9-5) at Lumberton (11-3)
- Scott Central (11-2) at Taylorsville (13-1)
- Jefferson Davis County (8-5) at Columbia (13-0)
- Lawrence County (9-5) at Poplarville (8-5)
- Picayune (13-0) at West Jones (13-0)
- Oak Grove (10-3) at Petal (12-1)