If anyone should have an idea of what will happen when Seminary and Water Valley play for the MHSAA Class 3A State football Championship it’s Winona head coach Joey Tompkins since the Tigers played both teams this year.
Winona edged Water Valley 21-20 during the regular season and lost to Seminary 46-41 in the quarterfinals when time ran out on the Tigers at the Seminary six-yard line.
“I expect Water Valley to win. Water Valley is probably the better, more well-rounded team,” Tompkins said. “If they can protect the ball and throw the ball some, I feel like they will beat Seminary.”
Water Valley has the better balanced offense, averaging 182 yards per game on the ground and 100 through the air. Seminary is averaging 294 running, but only 45 passing.
Water Valley (13-2) and Seminary (12-3) will meet in the first of six championship games at the University of Southern Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium at 11 a.m. Friday. Water Valley advanced with a 42-28 victory over North Panola in the North State final. Seminary defeated defending champion Jefferson Davis County 15-9 in the South State final.
Winona also played Nanih Waiya, which will be in the 1A final, handing the Warriors their only loss, 33-23.
Nanih Waiya (14-1) will play Simmons (14-0) in the 1A final at 3 p.m. Friday. It will be a repeat of last year’s championship game, won by Simmons 22-20. Simmons is three-time defending champion and is riding a 54-game winning streak, best in the nation.
The third game Friday will be Oak Grove (12-3) and Horn Lake (14-0) at 7 p.m. for the 6A title. Horn Lake scored a touchdown and a safety in the final 30 seconds to defeat Madison Central 16-7 in the North State final. Oak Grove scored two fourth quarter touchdowns for a 21-10 South State victory over Brandon.
The schedule for Saturday is Louisville (14-1) and Poplarville (13-1) in 4A at 11 a.m., Taylorsville (15-0) and Scott Central (14-1) in 2A at 3 p.m. and West Point (13-1) and West Jones (12-2) at 7 p.m. in 5A.
Louisville’s only loss was to West Point. Poplarville beat previously unbeaten East Central 33-17 in the South State final.
Winona played both 2A teams in the playoffs last year, a quarterfinal win over Scott Central and a loss to Taylorsville in the championship game.
Taylorsville, with a 25-game winning streak, will be without sophomore quarterback Ty Keyes. He has thrown for more than 8,000 yards the past two years, but suffered a broken ankle in the Tartars’ 15-9 win over Bay Springs in the South State final. Scott Central blanked Calhoun City 27-0 in the North State final.
West Point has not been quite as dominant was last year’s 5A champion, but played a complete game in a 35-0 victory over Olive Branch in the North State final. The Green Wave held Olive Branch to 101 yards of offense and four first downs. West Jones upset unbeaten Hattiesburg 37-14 in the quarterfinals, then downed Picayune 21-13 in the South State final.