By Adam Gore/GoreSports.net
VARDAMAN – Durant’s Cortez Frizell is as good as advertised.
The junior rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to lead Durant past Vardaman 30-7 on Friday night in the Class 1A north state championship game.
Durant (13-1) took a advantage of a Vardaman fumble – a sign of things to come – when Frizell scored on a 51-yard run less than three minutes into the first quarter. The visitors took a 14-0 lead into the break on after a second Vardaman turnover led to a 24-yard scoring run by Frizell.
Chris Armstrong made it a 14-7 game on a 1-yard plunge into the end zone at the 7:19 mark of the third quarter before Joffie Hogsett touchdown run on a fourth and goal with 4:38 remaining in the fourth proved to be the difference in the game.
“We got down 14-0 early, but the kids played hard to get back in it,” said second-year Vardaman coach Justin Hollis. “We just made too many mistakes and against a good football team you can’t make any mistakes like that, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Vardaman (9-4) had five turnovers, with three resulting in touchdowns for the Tigers.
Durant tacked on a 38-yard fumble return to advance to the Class 1A State title game for the first time since back-to-back wins over Vardaman in 2000 and 2001.
“The kids played their hardest against a talented football team. They are going to Jackson for a reason,” said Hollis.
Chris Armstrong finished with 22 yards rushing and one touchdown for the Rams. Freshman quarterback Cody Jenkins was 7-of-13 passing for 64 yards. Bobo Whaley added 40 yards on three carries while Lavoris Hackett added 26 yards on four carries.
Durant will play Mount Olive, a 15-7 winner over Sebastopol on Friday night, for the Class 1A state title at 7 p.m. Thursday.