By Brandon Speck
Division 4-2A came down to the very end on Friday night. Calhoun City and Okolona each made a play to win one of Mississippi’s toughest divisions, but Calhoun City made the last one – Travone Petty’s 43-yard tipped-touchdown catch from Chakel Gates.
It was the perfect ending to a division race that has both teams well-prepared for the playoffs.
“This has been, like Eupora coach Junior Graham said, ‘the SEC of 2A football.’ I’m really proud that our team was a part of it,” Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said. “We’re really blessed to have won this region. I promise you.”
Playoffs begin this week for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A. Calhoun City, the Journal’s No. 2 small school, will host J.Z. George. No. 5 Okolona travels to West Bolivar, Bruce visits Simmons and Eupora hosts South Delta.
Before Calhoun City’s Shaquille Wright plopped on a muffed kickoff to end the game at Okolona, Chieftains’ quarterback Jacolbi Heard threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Rod Jones for a short-lived lead with 2:35 left. That pass came on fourth-and-24.
“All year, every game, it’s been something. Every week, one play, one kick, one mistake, it’s just been a battle,” Okolona coach Jack Clark said. “That should prepare us for what’s next.”
The top teams in the Journal rankings remain the same in the final update of the regular season, Large School Oxford, 4A/3A Corinth and Small School Baldwyn.
All five teams in the Class 4A/3A rankings will host playoff games Friday. One of Class 1A’s biggest surprises, No. 5 Hamilton (8-2) has a chance to win 1-1A on Friday at Coffeeville.