By Robert Wilson

​Heritage Academy junior quarterback Mack Howard is rated as the No. 6 best recruit in Mississippi, the best quarterback in Mississippi and No. 19 in the country in his class by 247 Sports.

​Copiah Academy and the fans at Friday afternoon’s MAIS Class 5A state championship game at Jackson Academy found out why.

​Howard completed 13 of 15 passes for 334 yards and six touchdowns in three quarters to lead Heritage to a 51-21 victory over Copiah.

​Heritage finished with a 13-1 record and won its second state championship in three seasons. Copiah, playing in its first state championship game since winning it in 2006, finished 10-3.

​“Mack was Mack,” Heritage coach Sean Harrison said. “He showed why he is a big time Division I recruit (offers from No. 5 ranked Cincinnati, Louisville, Kansas, Houston and Middle Tennessee State). He made smart decisions and threw great balls. (Senior) Mitchell (Woodard) and (junior) Trey (Naugher) went and got it for him.”

​The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Howard was spectacular with his accuracy, hitting receivers time and time again right on target. He connected on 7 of his first 8 passes for 190 yards and fourtouchdowns – 26 yards to Naugher, 8 yards to senior Eli Dement, 51 and 73 yards to Woodard – in the first quarter and 40 secondsinto the second quarter. By that time, it was 27-7 Heritage.

​Heritage led 30-7 at halftime and 51-13 after three quarters.

​“I’m really proud of the way we came out,” Harrison said. “We gave up a big play early (Copiah senior running back John David Weed ran for a 72-yard TD in the opening minute), but we rebounded nicely. I thought the defense did a great job of settling in. I’m proud of our offensive line and running backs for taking over when they pulled everyone out of the box.”

​Howard also completed TD passes to junior Luke Fisher and a third one to Woodard (who had four catches for 195 yards) and senior Wesley Miller scored on a 25-yard run and had 88 yards on nine carries.

​Fisher and Dement, who also play linebacker, and Miller, who also plays strong safety, led the defense 11, 9 and 6 tackles respectively. Miller had an interception.

​Weed had 313 yards on 33 carries and three TDs