The Amite Warriors put an end to the Many Tigers’ dream of winning back to back Class 2A state football titles on Friday afternoon in the Ceasars Superdome in New Orleans.
In a defensive slugfest, Amite edged the Tigers 17-6 to win the title in the Warriors’ last year in 2A before moving up to 3A next year.
Many, playing in the state championship game for a third straight season, finished with a 13-2 record. Amite wrapped up with an 11-2 record, but it included two forfeits attributed to administrative errors leading to an ineligible player taking part in the first two games.
The teams had met last season in the quarterfinal round at Amite, when Many prevailed in a 34-30 shootout. This was just as competitive, but without much offensive production.
Amite took a 3-0 halftime lead, and scored twice more before Many got on the board midway through the final quarter. The Tigers had averaged nearly 50 points per game, but were never able to break big plays on the Warriors as they had in every other game this year.
Many’s defense was actually the stingiest of the two, but Amite did manage to break loose on a handful on plays and had a big advantage in field position after halftime.
The Tigers had a chance to score first. After a long, methodical opening drive, Many reached the end zone from the 7-yard-line but a Jeremiah James touchdown run was brought back by a holding penalty. The Tigers had to settle for a field goal attempt that failed. The missed scoring opportunity proved to be huge for the Tigers and gave Amite the ball with no score in the contest.
The first half was a war in the trenches as expected. The Amite defensive line proved to be a superior unit. The physicality of the group matched or superseded the Tigers’ offensive line unit.
After some great defensive plays on both sides, the half ended with Amite on top 3-0 on a 34-yard Llam Adamson field goal with 1:32 to go. The score at half marked the first game in two seasons that the Tigers trailed at half, the last time being in the Dome against Ferriday in the 2019 finals.
Amite scored again midway through the third quarter on quarterback Jalen Robinson’s 17-yard run to go ahead 10-0 after Adamson’s kick. Another Amite touchdown, this one in the fourth quarter on an Earl Jackson run from 9 yards out, built the Warriors’ advantage to 17-0 with 9:27 to play.
The Tigers roared to life by taking the kickoff and driving the length of the field, scoring with 6:30 to play on a 16-yard London Williams touchdown run. That was Many’s longest run of the afternoon. The conversion failed, leaving the deficit at 17-6.
Many got a spark when Garet Culverson recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Tigers couldn’t get a first down and Amite ground out most of the remaining time left to win its sixth state championship, and the Warriors’ first title since 2018.
The Tigers outgained the Warriors in yardage 211-153 and also led in first downs 13-12. Williams, who picked up his first Division I college scholarship offer last week from nearby Northwestern State, led the Tigers in rushing with 101 yards and scored his 47th touchdown of the season. But the only statistic that really matters is the final score and that’s where the Tigers came up short.
The Tigers and head coach Jess Curtis had a tremendous season. With 17 starters coming back, they look for next year to be another run toward the Dome.
“Such a tremendous football team I have. I’m blessed to coach them every day,” said Curtis. “Tonight wasn’t our night. Our timing was off. You have to credit Amite, they played extremely well, especially defensively.
“Our team has been so good this year, answered so many challenges. Our offense has been one of the best in the state. One night of bad football isn’t the end of the world. This group will be in the mix next fall, with 17 starters back.
“I just want to tip my hat to my seniors. They’re a special group of guys. They’ve been to three straight state championship games, and that’s hard to do, hard to be that consistently good. That’s my message. There’s a lot to be proud about,” said Curtis.
1:32 A – Llam Adamson 34 yard FG, Amite 3-0
6:12 A – Jalen Robinson 17 yard run, Adamson kick, Amite 10-0
9:27 A – Earl Jackson 9 yard run, Adamson kick, Amite 17-0
6:30 M- London Williams 16 yard run, conversion failed, Amite 17-6
M – London Williams 22-101, 1 TD, Jeremiah James 16-46, Tackett Curtis 8-32,
Trevor McLendon 2-9
A – Jalen Robinson 8-59, 1 TD, Earl Jackson 7-25, 1 TD, Brennan Harrell 5-11, Zhamere Ard 2-0
M – Curtis 2-9-1, 27 yards
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