By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
And then there were three.
Eight Northeast Mississippi high schools entered Friday night’s state quarterfinals, but only three – Starkville and West Point in 5A and Bruce in 2A – earned victories to advance to next week’s MHSAANorth state championship game – the state semifinals.
Five saw their seasons end: 3A Aberdeen, 2A Calhoun City, 4A Houston, 4A Itawamba AHS and 5A Oxford.
In 4A at Fulton, Noxubee County’s defense lived up to its lofty reputation with a 16-3 road win against IAHS in a battle of unbeatens.
The Tigers, who have posted five shutouts this season, stymied the Indians’ potent offense, which featured 1,000-yard running backs Ashton Shumpert and Charles Moore.
Noxubee County will host Louisville, a 46-21 winner over Houston, next week.
In Class 2A, a possible Skuna River sequel between Bruce and Calhoun City in the state semifinals was wiped out when the Wildcats lost 35-13 to Eupora.
Bruce, thanks to a late pass interception by Zay Armstrong, held off West Bolivar and all-state running back Kailo Moore, to take a 14-12 victory. The Trojans play next week at Eupora.
Back to the semis
In Class 5A, Starkville, a 28-7 winner against Oxford, returns to the state semifinals for the second straight season.
The Yellow Jackets will host West Point, a 56-21 winner at home against Ridgeland.
In Class 3A, Aberdeen’s season came to an end with a 49-22 loss to defending state champion Charleston.
In Class 6A, Madison Central eliminated defending state champion Olive Branch with a 27-6 win. On the other side of the bracket, South Panola knocked off Clinton 35-13.
Next week’s game will be played in coach Bobby Hall’s backyard – Madison Central.