By Gene Phelps
JACKSON – Montrael Nabors thought he had caught the touchdown pass with 3 minutes, 14 seconds remaining that would put Lafayette back in the game.
A penalty – an illegal touch called against Nabors – wiped out the play and a possible Commodores’ rally in its 21-6 loss Saturday to Forrest County AHS in the MHSAA Class 4A state championship football game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The official ruled that Nabors ran out of bounds before coming back to grab Devon Thomas’ pass in the end zone.
A devastated Nabors claimed he was pushed out.
“The official said he didn’t see it,” Lafayette coach Eric Robertson said. “It is what it is.”
Forrest County AHS (13-2) held on to win its first state championship. Lafayette (10-6) started its season 3-5, but recovered to win seven straight games and clinch a berth in the title game.
The gambling Aggies converted on two fourth-down plays, one that went for their third touchdown. They also converted on six third-down plays.
“Making a stop on third down or a first down here and there … it’s a different ballgame,” Robertson said.
The Commodores, trailing 21-6 midway in the third quarter, reached the Forrest County AHS 17, but saw its drive stall. Lafayette managed just 95 yards total offense in the final three quarters after rushing for 124 in the first quarter.
Lafayette took an early 6-0 lead on the strength of fields of 38 and 31 yards by Ryan Holland. His last kick came with 9:59 remaining in the second quarter.
Forrest County AHS answered with two touchdowns, the first a 7-yard pass to Carey Husband from Carter Hankins, to take a 14-6 halftime lead.
Hankins completed 10-of-18 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The Aggies’ second TD of the first half was a 2-yard run by Hankins on a keeper as time expired in the second quarter.
The score capped an 11-play, 64-yard drive that included one third-down and one fourth-down conversion.
“I kept telling Coach (Larry) Dolan to run a quarterback sneak,” Hankins said. “He called ‘Redskin Right’ and said, ‘You’re keeping.’ My offensive line gave me a great lane to run in.”
Forrest County AHS made it 21-6 on its opening possession of the second half.
The Aggies converted on a fourth-and-10 from the Lafayette 15-yard line when Hankins connected with Dontavian Lee for a touchdown.