By Gene Phelps
JACKSON – Northeast Mississippi’s last hope to win a 2013 state football championship – unbeaten Oxford – saw its gold football vanish in a five-minute span Saturday night.
Picayune, which trailed by 14 points headed into the fourth quarter, scored three touchdowns in 4 minutes, 56 seconds to rally for a 42-35 victory in the MHSAA Class 5A championship game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Maroon Tide (12-2) scored its game-winning touchdown on a 75-yard run by tailback Kardarius Cross with 2:08 remaining.
Oxford (14-1) fumbled the ball on the fourth play of its final possession with 1:10 left in the game.
Lafayette (10-6) second-year coach Eric Robertson, who watched his team rebound from a 3-5 start to qualify for the Class 4A state championship game, praised his players’ effort during the season.
“We grew as a team,” he said after Saturday’s 21-6 loss to Forrest County. “We feel bad for our seniors. “I’m extremely proud of our football team and what they’ve accomplished.
“We got back to Jackson. I’m sorry we didn’t win.”
The Commodores, who lost early in the playoffs last season, won back-to-back state titles in 2010 and 2011.
Tupelo (6A), Calhoun City (2A) and Smithville (1A) all suffered losses in Friday’s title games.
The Golden Wave, which reached its first championship game since 1992, dropped a 14-7 thriller to Oak Grove.