The Laurel-Picayune 5A South State championship game, played at Lee-Triplett Stadium was a game of two halves.
The home standing Maroon Tide dominated the first-half. Running back Josh Littles would rush for 92 of his 115 yards and a touchdown in the first 24 minutes of play.
Coach Dodd Lee's 12 and 1 Maroon Tide had momentum on their side and led 27-10 at the half. Quarterback Skylar Bowman connected with V-J Holt on a 33-yard touchdown strike.
Watch running back Shaun Anderson rip-off a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown that had Picayune fans feeling good at the time, holding what looked like a comfortable lead.
Laurel came out on fire in the second half and took advantage of a couple of turnovers and stopped Picayune on a 4th and 1 in Maroon Tide territory that helped turn the Tide in favor of the 13 and 1 Golden Tornadoes.
Laurel quarterback Tyquan Ulmer passed for 211 yards and four touchdowns and the Golden Tornadoes piled up 35-second half points ,while the Laurel defense held Picayune scoreless.
Laurel advances to play West Point next Saturday at 7 p.m. in Starkville for the 5A State title game.
The young Maroon Tide closed out the 2016 season with 12 wins and 2 losses.
Lee said, "We only had five seniors and I told them we could be right back here next year. But we have to have a little more faith and we've got to believe what we do a little more."
There was celebration in Poplarville. The home standing Hornets, under head coach Jay Beech, continued their winning ways and earned a first-ever trip to the 4A state championship game with a dominating 42-14 win over Florence.
Running back Austin Bolton ripped off 257 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while teammate Jesse Pernell added 119 yards rushing and a TD.
Poplarville has run-off 12 consecutive victories and will meet West Point 3 p.m. next Saturday in the 4A title game in Starkville.
Coach Beech said, "This community has shown how special it is. Today at 1 p.m. the whole tailgating area was full of tents. People here, it's just a very special community and I'm so proud they get to experience this."
WLOX will be in Starkville on the campus of Mississippi State when the Hornets go after a first-ever state football championship.
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