By Robert Wilson
Photos by Hays Collins
Coach Tyrone Shorter won his fifth state title Saturday afternoon with his second school and he did with his team scoring a touchdown and going for the win on a two-point conversion in the final minute.
Junior quarterback Jace Hudspeth completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior Jarvis Rush and Jaden Triplett added the winning two-point conversion with 36 seconds to play to carry Louisville past Poplarville 15-14 for the MHSAA Class 4A state championship at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Louisville, 12-1, won its second state title in three seasons and 10th in school history. Louisville ranks third among MHSAA schools with 10 titles, behind South Panola and West Point with 10 each. The Wildcats have never lost a championship game. It was the first for Shorter at Louisville after winning four at Noxubee County. Poplarville, 10-4, lost for the fourth time in the past five seasons in the championship game. Poplarville lost to Louisville 25-20 for the 2018 state title.
Hudspeth drove the Wildcats 82 yards in 13 plays for the winning score, including converting two fourth downs to keep the drive alive. He completed a 13-yard pass to sophomore Keyarrion Jackson on fourth and 10 from the Louisville 20, then completed a 10-yard pass to Rush on fourth-and-6 from the Poplarville 38. Hudspeth completed 23 of 39 passes for 276 yards. Jackson caught nine passes for 90 yards and Rush caught five passes for 75 yards.
Louisville’s defense, led by senior defensive end and MHSAA’s Class 4A Mr. Football Ty Cooper, kept Poplarville out of the end zone in the second half. Joshua Nunn clinched the win with an interception in the final seconds.
Senior Greg Swann led Poplarville with 92 yards on 10 carries and a 62-yard TD run. Junior Tyron Houston had 72 yards on seven carries. Sophomore Avan Jarvis scored a TD.