By Robert Wilson
Tri-County Academy coach Philip Wasson characterized his senior running back Trace Dearman as running like a bull Friday night in the MAIS Class 4A state championship game. Wasson wouldn’t get a disagreement from Kirk Academy, Tri-County’s opponent.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Dearman ran 33 times for 232 yards and five touchdowns to lead Tri-County to a 44-22 victory and the 4A state title, the school’s first since 2012.
Dearman, who also plays linebacker/defensive end, had two tackles and his and his Tri-County defense held Kirk to only one yard rushing.
For his outstanding performance, Dearman has been named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
After four runner-up finishes, including two years ago when Dearman was a sophomore, Tri-County was able to bring a state title back to Flora. Tri-County finished 14-1, its only loss a 19-18 decision to Adams County Christian School. It was Tri-County’s fifth state title and 15th state championship appearance.
Dearman was a big reason for Tri-County’s success this season. He finished with 217 carries for 1,815 yards and 31 TDs this season. Dearman also had 35 tackles, 5 for loss, with 2 caused fumbles and 1 fumble return for a TD.
“Trace was like a bull looking to run over people Friday night,” Wasson said. “He had positive yardage on every carry in the game. Trace has a lot of heart and determination.”
Friday night’s performance wasn’t the only playoff game Dearman ran for more than 200 yards. He had 22 carries for 229 yards and four TDs in a 56-14 victory over Oak Hill Academy in the quarterfinals.