VICKSBURG – Smithville coach Bubba Tacker challenged quarterback Drew Lann going into Friday’s MHSAA Class 1A North championship game against St. Aloysius.
The senior responded, throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the Seminoles’ 47-24 win to send them to the state championship game for the first time in 15 years. They will play French Camp at 11 a.m. Friday at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
“We knew coming into the game that this is the North half championship and you’ll have to throw the ball,” Tacker said. “We challenged Drew, our receivers, everyone. That’s the backbone of this team that they don’t know how to quit.”
The Seminoles got on the board on their first drive of the game with Tyler Hood making up most of the ground work on the 53-yard drive. On third-and-16, Lann hooked up with Hood for a 20-yard score and a 6-0 lead.
Back and forth
St. Aloysius answered with 14 unanswered points – a 33-yard run from Douglas Busari and a 41-yard score from Barrett Teller.
Smithville answered with an 88-yard drive, capped off with a 14-yard TD pass from Lann to Neil Knight. The Seminoles took the lead on the next drive with Lann finding Kyle Knight for a 35-yard pass on third down and Hood scoring from 8 yards out.
The Flashes didn’t let the lead hold long with Teller breaking loose for a 57-yard score on the first play of their next drive. Blake Hudson’s extra point gave St. Aloysius a 21-20 halftime lead.
Lann’s first score on the ground, a 23-yard run, gave Smithville the lead back at the end of the third quarter, but Hudson’s 27-yard field goal cut the lead to four.
Smithville iced the win with fourth-quarter touchdowns from Hood and Dee Moore and a pick-six from Lann.
Lann was 10-of-16 passing for 184 yards.
“They had some big men up front, and we had to work around it,” Lann said. “This is the biggest game we’ve had passing so far.”
Hood finished with 189 yards on the ground while Lann added 45 and Moore had 48.
“We’ve had hard work, dedication, and most of all God that’s helped us get here,” Hood said.