Commodores take down Poplarville to win 4A title
By John Davis, Sports Editor
STARKVILLE – Heavy rain turned out to be no big deal for the Lafayette Commodores. Led by another strong performance by its defense, Lafayette defeated Poplarville 27-12 Saturday in the MHSAA Class 4A state title game at Davis-Wade Stadium.
It was the third state championship for the Commodores, who finished the year with 13 straight wins after an 0-2 start.
“I’m just so proud of this team and what they have accomplished this season. They worked so, so hard to get here,” said Lafayette coach Michael Fair. “We played really well from the first snap until the last. That’s a good football team that we played tonight and they never quit. They just keep coming right at you and our guys hung in there and made some plays when it counted.”
Lafayette jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its second snap when Will Ard found Tyler Williams for a 77-yard touchdown. The Commodores never let up and with 17 seconds left before the half, they were up three scores. Lafayette led 27-0 late in the third before Poplarville even scored.
The Commodores then secured the win with an interception from Xavier Martin with just over two minutes left.
TURNING POINT: With Lafayette up 14-0, Poplarville got tricky late in the second quarter.
An attempted hook and lateral turned into a fumble and it was returned by Lafayette’s Brandon Turnage for a 65-yard touchdown.
POINT MAN: Ard was 6 for 7 through the air for 104 yards. Jamarcus Quarles was also key with 70 yards and a touchdown.
TALKING POINT: “I don’t know how to describe it, this is the best feeling of my life,” Ard said. “I’m just so glad I moved here. These people brought me in and I love every single one of them.”
• Lafayette had 25 fewer snaps than Poplarville and finished with 204 yards compared to 343 for the Hornets.
• This is the first state title for the Commodores since 2011.
• Poplarville came into the contest averaging almost 400 yards on the ground and 41 points per game.