The offensive numbers have been incredible for Ridgeland senior quarterback Zy McDonald all season.
In just nine games, the Louisiana (Lafayette) commit has thrown for 2,722 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for another 835 yards and seven touchdowns. Some quick math shows McDonald is good for about 400 yards every time he suits up.
"He's been told a lot what he couldn't do with his size but he's just such a big part of what we've done, obviously," said Ridgeland Head Coach Sam Williams. "Whatever we've needed, he's been the guy to make that play. And honestly the other kids expect him to make that play. He's the 5A player of the year to me no matter who gets the awards."
As a 5'10" quarterback, one thing he can't do is make himself taller. Some coaches are still slow to come around to shorter quarterbacks despite the success of them on every level.
"You see guys now like the Russell Wilson's and Kyler Murray's of the world who are built like him," said Williams. "I've called a million people and just told them I know he's 5'9 or 5'10, but I assure you the ball comes out of his hand just about better than anyone I've ever seen. He's gonna be one of those kids who gets to Lafayette and I think a lot of people are gonna look back and think they should have looked less at measurables and more at intangibles."
In his first year as head coach of the Ridgeland program, Coach Williams has led the Titans to a 10-2 record with a shot at a 5A state championship.
"It's been a really fun run so far and obviously we aren't ready for it to be over yet. I attribute a lot of it to we have some really talented football players," said Williams. "Like anybody else, I'm not a miracle-maker, we have a lot of good players who have bought in to what we want to do. They've gotten us here."
A few of those talented players include a bevy of big-time receivers. Senior Richard Mays leads the team with 56 receptions, 1093 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Sophomore Ayden Williams has 52 catches for 722 yards and six scores. Senior Antoine Brown has seven touchdown catches among his 24 receptions.
Junior running back Donovan Ball has 617 yards rushing and another 249 yards receiving, combining for ten touchdowns.
On the defensive side, the leading tacklers are senior defensive backs Kendreal Thompson and Kemorian Herring. Sophomore nose guard Kennedy Baker ranks third with 39 tackles and four tackles for loss.
The last team standing between the Titans and a trip to the 5A State Championship game is West Point, winners of the last four 5A titles. The Green Wave are 10-3 with playoff wins over Holmes County Central (42-28) and Grenada (28-14).
"You know you expect to get the best game from the best," said Williams. "It would feel weird if this wasn't the matchup anyway. You gotta win a north state title and not facing West Point wouldn't feel right. I'm excited about the challenge and our kids are too. I respect them a whole lot. They've been one of the best football programs in Mississippi. We'll go out Friday night and give them all we got."