State title in reach for trio of area teams

Lafayette County High School players Demarkus Dennis and Jeremy Liggins had few words to say after their team knocked off previously undefeated and top-ranked Itawamba AHS in the MHSAA Class 4A football semifinals.
Perhaps it was because they were both sophomores and new to this spotlight as first-year starters. They did, however, have smiles on their faces after defeating Itawamba AHS 31-6 in Fulton Friday night.
“All I can say is that we’re going to state,” said Liggins, Lafayette’s quarterback. “That’s all I can say.”
Lafayette’s 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback rushed for an 80-yard touchdown and threw for a 35-yard score in leading the Commodores (14-1) to their 11th consecutive win on Friday.
“We deserved it,” Liggins said of Lafayette’s North half championship. “We worked so hard for it.
“We worked so hard in preparing for it. We deserved it.”
The Commodores’ only loss of the season, as a matter of fact, came against Itawamba in Fulton on Sept. 11. Liggins threw for a 63-yard TD pass and rushed for a 9-yard touchdown in the Week 4 25-19 regular-season loss.
“I just knew we were going to have to come out and play hard,” he said. “They (IAHS) thought they were going to beat us because they had home-field advantage and they got us last time.
“But we came back prepared for it.”
Also impressive on Friday night was Dennis, Lafayette’s running back. He had 16 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns. His TD runs were of 79 and 27 yards.
When asked about his performance after Friday’s win, Dennis answered in sentences no longer than four words. He was polite, however, and had a grin on his face, capturing the moment of his team advancing to the state championship game.
Up next for Lafayette is St. Stanislaus (13-1) in the Class 4A championship game set for 3 p.m. on Saturday at Jackson’s Mississippi Memorial Stadium.
Aberdeen, which defeated Booneville 47-12 on Friday, will play Tylertown (14-0) in Saturday’s Class 3A state title game set for 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
West Point will play in Saturday’s nightcap, the Class 5A championship game, at Memorial Stadium. The Green Wave, which defeated New Hope 41-21 on Friday, will take on Wayne County (11-3) beginning at 7 p.m.

Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or john.wilbert@djournal.com.

John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal