Aberdeen Bulldogs, Tylertown Chiefs aim for first title

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

ABERDEEN – Aberdeen is making its first appearance in a state championship game. Tylertown, on the other hand, made its first appearance at Jackson’s Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Stadium last season and the Chiefs still aren’t happy about the results.
Both teams lost to Louisville in the final two weeks of 2008 and now they will meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday to determine the 2009 MHSAA Class 3A state champion.
Tylertown (14-0) will be the third straight unbeaten team that Aberdeen (13-2), winners of 12 straight, has had to face in the season’s final three weeks; Aberdeen beat 13-0 teams Charleston and Booneville to advance to Jackson.
“You watch film and you don’t find any weaknesses. They’re a good ballclub all the way around,” Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan said. “That’s what you expect this time of year. We’re looking forward to that challenge.”
Both teams come in with Mississippi State-committed runners. Aberdeen senior running back Jamerson Love has 1,647 yards and 20 rushing scores on 183 carries. He has 28 total touchdowns on the year.
Tylertown bites back with senior quarterback Jameion Lewis, whose legs are as good as his arm. He has thrown for 1,004 yards and 10 touchdowns, but leads the team in rushing with 1,080 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Duncan said it’s tough to plan against a dual threat like Lewis because it’s difficult to figure out which part of his game to worry about the most.
“You’d say running the football, but he can throw the heck out of it,” Duncan said. “I’d like to (face) somebody who can either run it or throw it, but he can do both and he’s got a lot of weapons to work with.”
Duncan’s Bulldogs have a lot to work with, too. Senior quarterback Aaron Andrews, in his first year under varsity center, has thrown for 2,644 yards and 30 touchdowns. He’s rushed for another five.
His top yardage receiver is senior Erik Buchanan, with 823 yards and seven touchdowns on 46 catches.
Senior Rashad Pargo has found the end zone eight times and has 805 yards on 32 grabs.
Junior back Victor Hodges is nearing 1,000 yards, too, with 876 coming on 81 rushes with seven touchdowns.
Tylertown’s leading receiver is Jawon Jackson, a senior with 334 yards and four touchdowns on 16 catches. Senior back Didriquez Smith has 123 carries for 463 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Hoping to match up
Tylertown coach Walter Denton said he’ll have to wait and see if his Chiefs can match up on Saturday.
“Aberdeen has a fine football team. They’re very well-coached and have tremendous athletes,” he said. “They have good size. I don’t know if we can match up with them. They have lots of speed. They’re a wide open offense and they play very good defense.”
As much credit goes to the offenses, it’s the defenses that post impressive numbers as well. Tylertown has outscored opponents 419-153, with only three opponents reaching the 20s.
Aberdeen has outscored opponents 558-185, with only three opponents reaching the 20s.
“At the beginning of the season, I made a promise to the coaches,” Aberdeen linebacker Decedrick Quinn said. “If the offense would score 28 points, we would never lose a game because we’d hold teams to 21 points or less.”
Only two – Class 6A Columbus and Class 4A Pontotoc – got over 21.
Both of those teams beat the Bulldogs this year on their home fields.
Meanwhile, Lewis said he and Love are friends. In fact, they’ll be teammates in the Mississippi–Alabama All-Star Classic next weekend in Mobile, Ala.
“We’re friends and all, but on the field Saturday, we’re no longer friends ’til after the game,” Lewis said. “Our first goal was to make it back to Jackson. We can’t be disappointed this time. We’ve got to finish the job.”

Contact Brandon Speck at brandon.speck@monroe360.com