Jared’s Guide to the 1A State Championship Game: Biggersville vs Lumberton

(Lumberton’s Robert Henry in last year’s MHSAA Class 1A State Championship game. Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA)

So we ask ourselves one of the biggest questions of the weekend. Who is David and who is Goliath? Well, depends on which way you look at it.

The Panthers will always be a contender down south. Not only a contender, a favorite in some instances. This year, it’s hard to mention this team without talking about Robert Henry. He led this team here for the last two years with his elite athleticism. Unfortunately for them, they were the victim of the Nanih Waiya machine that had a massive winning streak snapped last week by… their opponent.

One can also make the case that the upstart Biggersville Lions can be considered Goliath as well. Look at the score differential, 540-77. Look who they defeated last week, the back-to-back defending 1A champs on a 25-game winning streak. Look at their roster, full of underclassmen. The only problem here, this is their first time on this stage, and what better beginning for them than one of 1A’s most elite programs.

Lumberton Panthers (11-1):

Head Coach: Zach Jones

Championship Road:

1st: McAdams (W*)

2nd: Stringer (W 34-6)

South: Simmons (W 30-0)

*-forfeit

Championship History:

Wins: 1983, 2004, 2005, 2010

Losses: 2016, 2019

Player Watch:

ATH – Robert Henry (152 car, 1,840 yds, 27 TD) (52% comp., 419 yds, 5 TD, 8 rec, 191 yds, TD)

ATH – Rodney Parker (65 car, 596 yds, 7 TD) (62% comp., 507 yds, TD) 

ATH – Trevon Jessie (56 car, 368 yds, 3 TD) (13 rec, 251 yds, 2 TD) (TD) (39 tkls, TFL, INT, FF)

LB – Da’Bryon Conerly (112 tkls, 8 TFL, SK, FF, FR)

LB – Jonathan Edwards (86 tkls, 18.5 TFL, 3 SK, FF, FR)

Keys to Victory:

– Get Henry the football

– Disrupt the backfield defensively

Biggersville Lions (13-0):

Head Coach: Stan Platt

Championship Road:

1st: West Lowndes (W 36-14)

2nd: Tupelo Christian Prep (W 32-7)

North: Nanih Waiya (W 26-0)

Championship History:

Wins: None

Losses: None

Player Watch:

ATH – Goldman Butler (194 car, 1,748 yds, 26 TD) (4 rec, 30 yds, 2 TD) (24 tkls, 5.5 TFL, SK)

ATH – Zae Davis (22 car, 296 yds, 3 TD) (19 rec, 286 yds, 8 TD) (10 tkls, 2 TFL, 2 INT) (4 ST TD)

ATH – Zyonn Mayes (12 rec, 192 yds, 2 TD) (17 tkls, 1.5 TFL, SK, 2 INT)

DL – Di’Renzo Shields (19 tkls, 11.5 TFL, 4.5 SK, FF, 2 FR)

FB/LB – Jack Eaton (7 car, 32 yds) (rec TD) (16 tkls, 4.5 TFL)

Keys to Victory:

– Treat the game no different, embrace environment

– Force turnovers

The Outlook:

There’s no denying just how dominant Biggersville is and how scary the stats are in comparison. However, all bets are off in the state title game. When there’s a team here that has championship level experience on a consistent basis, they will always have an edge. Just ask last year’s Northside team in 2A. It was a fantastic season, but Lumberton will prevail. The Lions will be back though.

PICK: Lumberton 28, Biggersville 24

Jared Redding

Jared Redding is a senior journalism major at the University of Mississippi and a lifelong native of Oxford, Miss. Jared has previously served with SES Mississippi and currently contributes to the Oxford Eagle and HottyToddy.com.

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