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Trey Petty, Stonka Burnside lead Starkville past Madison Central 35-15 in 7A North Championship

The Class 7A Mr. Football winner didn't disappoint in the state semifinal

STARKVILLE — It might have been the day after Thanksgiving, but Starkville quarterback Trey Petty was still hungry going into Friday night’s MHSAA Class 7A North Championship against Madison Central.

And the reigning Mr. Football feasted.

Petty hit star receiver Stonka Burnside for back-to-back touchdown passes of 56 and 64 yards in the third quarter to erase a 15-14 deficit and push the Yellow Jackets past the Jaguars 35-15 and on to the Class 7A Championship next week.

The defending champion Jackets (10-3) will face South State Champion Oak Grove (12-1) in the state title game Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.

“It’s a blessing,” Petty said. “Not many people get to play for a state championship, so for us to go twice, and back-to-back, it really is special.”

The Jackets took control early with a pair of first-half touchdowns — a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jaiden Turnipseed and a 12-yard run from Petty.

The Jaguars (7-5) finally answered right before the halftime break with a 69-yard touchdown drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jaiden Johnson to Glen Singleton.

That trimmed the Jackets’ lead to 14-7 at the break, but the lead didn’t last long as Madison Central went right down the field on the opening possession of the second half.

Johnson connected with Micah Jones and Zadarran Hart on passes of 38 and 36 yards, and Marviyan Jackson capped it with a nine-yard scoring run to put Madison Central ahead 15-14.

It was all Starkville after that — Petty hit Burnside on a slant route for a 56-yard scoring pass on the ensuing possession to regain the lead. After a quick three-and-out for the Jaguar offense, Petty connected with Burnside again on a fade pattern for a 54-yard touchdown to give Starkville a 28-15 lead.

“They were giving us a lot of one on ones,” Petty said. “Receivers just needed to take advantage. When they give you that zero cover look its hard to run the ball cause there’s at least one guy unblocked every time. But we were able to win those one-one-ones on the outside, including Turnipseed in the first half.”

Petty completed nine of his 13 pass attempts for 239 yards and the three touchdowns, and added another on the ground.

The Jackets’ other score came on a 95-yard touchdown run by Jay Stevenson that iced the game in the fourth quarter.

“I’m so proud of these guy and the way they stayed humble all season and found a way to get here and win,” Starkville coach Chris Jones said. “We don’t ever lose, we learn. So we had a couple of learning opportunities earlier this year, and we took advantage of them and got better.”

On the kickoff following the final Starkville touchdown, a fight broke out near the Madison Central sideline that resulted in multiple ejections.

According to Jones, Starkville senior lineman Dirk Dickson and sophomore defensive back Jekylon Taylor were both ejected from the game and, by rule, will be ineligible for next week’s State Championship game.

The loss was the first for Madison Central since an October 27 loss to the Jackets on this same field.

“We had a three game skid in the middle of our season,” Madison Central coach Toby Collums said. “But our guys didn’t miss a beat and kept coming to work Monday morning. That’s hard to do sometimes, but I was proud of the way our guys came back and played our way back into a chance to play for a shot at the state title.”

Photos by Austin Frayser