It’s championship week in Mississippi, and all six games are set for Friday and Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.
Here’s a look at the MHSAA Class 2A State Championship game, set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Scott Central (12-2) vs. Charleston (11-3)
Scott Central at a glance
- Record: 12-2 (4-0 in Region 6)
- Head Coach: Jeff Stockstill (2nd year, 27-2 overall)
- Key Players: QB Quez Goss, WR J.J. Butler, DE Zechariah Parodi
- State Championships: 3 (1999, 2018, 2021)
Coach Jeff Stockstill loaded the non-region schedule. The Rebels went 4-2 in that stretch, with wins over Morton, Union, Newton County and Lake and losses to Bay Springs (28-26 in overtime) and Mendenhall (18-8), two teams that are also playing for state titles this weekend.
It’s been smooth sailing for Scott Central ever since — they went 4-0 with four blowout wins over their region opponents, and whipped nannie Waiya, Collins, Philadelphia and Velma Jackson (again) in the playoffs.
The defending champs hung 70 points on Leflore County in the championship game last year, and they are primed to try to do it again in 2022.
Quarterback Quez Goss rides into Saturday’s championship game having passed for 2,531 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 500 more with 11 scores.
His top target J.J. Butler is one of the very best receivers in the state and committed to Southern Miss. He’s averaging better than 21 yards over 58 catches with 16 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Rebels have a key piece in nose tackle Zecheriah Parodi. He’s racked up 71 tackles, including 22 for a loss, this year.
As a unit, the Rebel defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 20 times, forcing 33 turnovers.
Charleston at a glance
- Record: 12-3 (5-0 in Region 3)
- Head Coach: Don Taylor (3rd year, 20-12 overall)
- Key Players: RB Fred Johnson, RB Marcus Flowers, LB Tim Kirk Jr.,
- State Championships: 1 (2011)
It took a while for Charleston to get it going, but the Tigers have been steady since the start of October.
They lost half of their six non-region games (against North Pontotoc, Leflore County and Clarksdale) before going 5-0 in Region 3 games to earn home field advantage in the playoffs, and have dispatched Calhoun City, Choctaw County and Eupora in the first three rounds of post-season play.
Charleston is a big underdog Saturday, but that’s just fine with coach Don Taylor and his crew.
The Tigers make their bones in the running game offensively, averaging just 86 passing yards a game while rushing for more than 160. Fred Johnson has been the main back, rushing for 919 yards with eight touchdowns in 15 games. Marcus Flowers is just a freshman, but he leads the team in carries (143) and rushing touchdowns (11).
The defense has been the calling card for Charleston, allowing just 191 points in 15 games thanks to stars like linebacker Tim Kirk Jr. and Latese Edwards — two sophomores who could be household names before they graduate.