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A large crowd was in attendance for the 4A State Championship game in Mississippi High School Activities Association in Hattiesburg. The game took place at the University of Southern Mississippi between the Mendenhall Tigers and the Louisville Wild Cats.
Pregame #59 Mason Westmoreland for Mendenhall was announced as the Scholar Athlete in 4A.
What appeared to be a drab, wet and miserable day quickly changed as the game started.
Mendenhall kicked the ball to Louisville to start the game. The 25-yard kick was returned for 25-yards. The Wildcats wasted no time driving down field crossing the goal line first and scoring the first touchdown. The PAT was good, and Louisville led by a score of 7-0. Louisville’s opening possession totaled 13 plays for 58 yards in 4:26.
Mendenhall’s first possession did not go well. In only 3 plays the Tigers averaged 7 yards in 1:39. Owen’s punt was 36 yards to the Louisville 47-yard line. Hill returns the ball for 20 yards for the Wildcats. Louisville wasted no time driving the ball again. Anderson would score on a 7-yard rush for the Wild Cats. The PAT was good. Louisville increased the lead by a score of 14-0. The drive went for 6 plays resulting in 33 yards in 1:43.
Eleven plays and 46 yards later Mendenhall would find the end zone when James and Owens connected on a five-yard pass. The PAT was no good and the Tigers are on the board trailing by a score of 14-6 with :05 left in the 1st quarter.
Mendenhall would start a long drive for 44 yards in 12 plays to look like what would be a score before halftime but came up short. The Tigers were not able to score and would end the half trailing by a score of 14-6.
Cederick Hunt kicked a 51 opening kick off to start the second half. Mendenhall’s Owens would return the ball for 13 yards. Neither team composed anything offensively during the 3rd quarter.
With 5:03 left in the game Mendenhall was able to drive the ball down the field 61 yards in 9 plays scoring on a 26-yard pass to Marcus Allen. The two-point conversion was good, and the game was tied 14-14 with 2:47 remaining in regulation play.
Louisville was unable to find the end zone and was forced to punt with :58 remaining on the clock.
What looked to be a game headed to over time quickly changed when Mendenhall fumbled the ball on the 43-yard line and Louisville recovered. Hunt’s 27-yard game ending field goal attempt from the 27-yard line was good. Louisville walked away State Champions for 4A.
The game was a nail bitter to the very end of two very good teams going head to head for the trophy. This was not the outcome Mendenhall hope for but was an experience of a lifetime for the athletes.
MageeNews.com is an online news source covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.