Brandon vs Starkville 18.JPG

Photo by Jared Thomas

By Brandon Shields

HATTIESBURG — They said don’t the Jackets get hot.

Well, they did, and it ended with a gold ball.

Behind the stellar play of quarterback Trey Petty, Starkville got past Brandon 48-32 to claim the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium on Saturday night.

The Yellowjackets (12-3) become the first No. 4 seed to claim a MHSAA football state championship since the association expanded to six classifications in 2009.

It’s also Starkville’s seventh state title in school history and first since 2015.

“It feels good, but it’s all about these kids. They never gave up and they played like this for a long time, we’ve been in playoff mode for a while and happy we finished the right way,” said Starkville coach Chris Jones. “We knew we could be here we just had to keep playing and we got guys healthy. Most importantly they trusted the process.”

Petty got the scoring off for the Yellowjackets on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:58 left in the first quarter to give Starkville a 7-0 lead.

After Brandon turned the ball over on downs at the Starkville 31-yard line, Petty found Braylon Burnside on a 22-yard touchdown pass to extend the Jackets lead to 14-0 with 5:04 left in the second quarter.

After the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs again at their own 47-yard line Petty scored on another 1-yard run to extend the Starkville lead to 21-0 with 19 seconds left in the second quarter.

Will Elliott hit a 38-yard field goal for Brandon to cut the Starkville lead to 21-3 as time expired before halftime.

Petty added a 2-yard touchdown run on the Yellowjackets first drive of the second half to extend the Starkville lead to 28-3 with 11:11 left in the third quarter.

Petty’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon York gave Starkville a 35-10 lead with five seconds left in the third quarter to give the Yellowjackets a 35-10 lead.

Courtland Cooper’s 12-yard touchdown run with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter sealed the game and gave Starkville a 41-10 lead.

Cooper also had a 16-yard touchdown run.

“Just being resilent and we never quit. That’s what champions do,” Jones said. “We bounced back and responded the right way. We barely got in as a four seed, but we finished.”

Petty finished the night 13-of-19 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and also added 62 yards with three touchdowns rushing to lead Starkville and was named the games MVP.

“Feels great after starting off 0-3 in district and we worked our butts off to get us back and put us in the position we’re in now,” Petty said. “Everybody just made plays, offensive line blocked well and skilled guys made plays. We executed on what coach told us to do.”

Landon Varnes had 297 yards passing with two touchdowns to lead Brandon. Nate Blount added 180 yards with two touchdowns for the Bulldogs (12-2).

“I was disappointed how we started the game off and not executing,” said Brandon coach Sam Williams. “We couldn’t get off the field on defense and weren’t crisp on offense.”