Madison Central wins 6A football title

Madison Central wins 6A football title


The Madison Central Jaguars claimed the football team’s first state championship since 1999 with a 24-17 win over Brandon High School in the Class 6A state championship Friday night in Hattiesburg.

“There’s no feeling like it,” said Toby Collums, who is in his first year as head football coach at Madison Central, of the victory. “It is what everybody prays for at the beginning of each year, so to be able to actually follow through with it, do it. There’s no better feeling.”

Collums credited the championship season to his team.

“They are a phenomenal group of kids,” Collums said. “Their work ethic and the chemistry within the team, when you have that, and you couple that with good assistant coaches and talented players who like being around each other, the winning just kind of takes care of itself.”

Senior tight end Blake Gunter said bringing home the first state title since 1999 was a great feeling.

“It really feels amazing, especially with the first-year coach,” Gunter said. “He came in since day one and said that’s our goal. And it has been a long time coming. It feels really good to reach that goal.”

Madison Central (12-1) beat Brandon (11-2) in the 7 p.m. Friday Mississippi High School Athletics Association Class 6A state championship game at the University of Southern Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.

Brandon opened the scoring with 8:56 left in the first quarter on a 23-yard reception from Landon Varnes, and with a successful point after touchdown kick by Jalen Ballard, Brandon led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Madison Central got on the board with 10:26 left in the second quarter with a 35-yard field goal by Max Zuluaga, bringing the score to 7-3.

Then, Madison Central’s Isaiah Spencer scored on a 1-yard run, upping the score to 10-7 with 5:48 left in the second quarter.

In second-half action, Brandon scored on a 32-yard field goal by Ballard with 7:03 left in the third quarter, tying the game at 10-10.

It did not take long for Madison Central to rally and score on a 79-yard pass from Jake Norris to Isaiah Spencer and a successful PAT by Zuluaga, bringing the score to 17-10 Madison Central with 6:14 left in the third quarter.

“It was a turning point in the game,” said Norris, a junior who played quarterback in the championship game. “We were thinking it was going to be there taking that shot, and they bid on the motion, and Isaiah was open over the top. I just led him with it a little bit, and he took it to the house. It just worked out exactly like we practiced all week. That was a big turning point in the game, taking the lead right there going in the time it was. I was very, very excited.”

Early in the fourth quarter, Brandon evened the score to 17-17 when Jarvis Durr scored on a 1-yard run, and Ballard was good on the PAT with 11:44 left in the game.

Later in the fourth quarter, Madison Central clinched the win with a successful drive culminating in a touchdown by Norris on a 2-yard run and a successful Zuluaga PAT bringing the score to 24-17, where it remained to the end.

Before Friday’s game, Madison Central Head Football Coach Toby Collums said he was excited for his team to be playing for the title.

“These kids worked very hard to be here, and it’s been a long time coming,” Collums said earlier this week. “It’s been since 1999 that they’ve won a state championship, so I hope we win and take home that title. We’re up against Brandon High School.”

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