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Winona rallies past Noxubee County 34-27 to clinch MHSAA 3A State Championship

The Tigers put an exclamation mark on an undefeated season

OXFORD — The Winona Tigers have made history and capped an undefeated season.

Behind the stellar play of Mr. Football Chase Richardson, Winona held off tradition-rich Noxubee County 34-27 in the all-Tiger matchup to claim the MHSAA Class 3A State Championship Saturday night at Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

It’s Winona’s first state title in school history.

“We knew we had a bunch of seniors that have been playing for a long time and when your best player is taking the snap every play then we knew had a chance. Words can’t describe how exciting this is,” said Winona coach Joey Tompkins. “The message was it’s a four-quarter game and Chase is the best player in the state and is a difference maker.”

Noxubee County got on the first as Jaiden Taylor found Jaylen King on a 30-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 5:32 left in the first quarter.

Winona (15-0) tied the game at 6-6 as Richardson scampered 58 yards to end zone with 1:49 left in the opening frame.

Noxubee County answered to regain the lead at 12-6 as Kamario Taylor hit Jadquist Clark on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 9:35 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers extended their lead to 19-6 as Kamario Taylor found Dequadrion Welch on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2:28 left in the first half.

Winona cut the Noxubee lead to 19-13 with 6:36 left in the third quarter on a Richardson 5-yard touchdown run.

After forcing a punt Winona took their first lead of the game at 20-19 as Richardson scored on a 2-yard run with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

Richardson added his fourth touchdown run on a 51-yard run with 10:21 left in the fourth quarter to extend Winona’s lead to 27-19.

Zaishun Nash’s 46-yard touchdown run with 6:35 left in the game extend the Winona lead to 34-19.

Taylor and Welch connected on a 58-yard touchdown pass for Noxubee and a successful two-point conversion cut the Winona lead to 34-27 with 5:09 left in the fouth quarter.

Richardson’s 31-yard run on the final drive of the game sealed the win for Winona.

Richardson finished with 28 carries for 294 yards and four touchdowns and tacked on 135 yards passing to lead Winona earn MVP honors.

“I just knew coming in I had to be myself," Richardson said. "Coach just told me to be myself and we were going to get it done. We had to limit the mistakes in the second half, and we did. This means a lot and exciting and now labeled as the best team to ever come through Winona.”

Kamario Taylor finished with 352 yards passing and three touchdowns to lead Noxubee County. The Tigers (10-5) have now lost four straight state championship games.

“Second half we just didn’t execute as well as the first half and Winona made plays and kept fighting,” said Noxubee County coach Teddy Young. “We will be back, we just gotta go back to the drawing board and try to get over this hump.”

Photos by Austin Frayser

Noxubee County Tigers