OXFORD, Miss. (WDAM) – Charleston High School running back Marcus Flowers, who spent his Friday evening bludgeoning the Heidelberg High School defense, saved his best for last.
Flowers ripped off a 10-yard run on fourth-and-2 near midfield to clinch a 26-22 victory for the Tigers over the pesky Oilers in the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s Class 2A Football Championship game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the University of Mississippi campus.
Heidelberg (11-4) had closed to within four points early in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Chase Craft to Julius Bradley.
But the Oilers could get no closer.
Their final drive reached Charleston’s 30-yard line. But on third-and-2, Craft lost 2 yards and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Tigers (13-2) with 2 minutes, 42 seconds, left in the game.
Charleston eventually faced a fourth-and-2 at the Heidelberg 45-yard line with just more than a minute to play.
Eschewing a punt, the Tigers gambled slightly, betting they would make the first down, effectively ending the game against a Heidelberg crew that was out of timeouts.
At worst, Charleston betted its defense was good enough to prevent the Tigers from a last-second score, even if the Oilers started on a short field.
It never came to the second contingency, as Flowers took his 40th carry of the game to the 35-yard line.
Flowers finished with 198 yards and a touchdown on 40 carries.
But he was just one side of a Charleston offensive coin that came up winners no matter how it landed.
The Tigers piled up 409 yards total offense to Heidelberg’s 203 yards total offense. Charleston rushed for 202 yards and threw for 207.
Both teams averaged around 5 1/2 yards a snap, but the Tigers had a ton more of them, running 75 offensive plays to Heidelberg’s 38.
Charleston quarterback Devin Olive completed 13-of-18 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns, including a 13-yard scoring strike to Kashwaun Drain and a 14-yarder to Deondre Riley, giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead with a little less than six minutes left in the first quarter.
But 19 seconds after Riley’s score, Craft ripped off a 65-yard run that got the Oilers on the scoreboard.
Heidelberg then failed to take advantage when it reached a fourth-and-goal at the Charleston 3-yard line. The Oilers committed consecutive , 5-yard penalties, and fourth-and-goal pass from the 13 fell incomplete.
The Tigers then roared downfield, poised to add to their lead in the second quarter when they reached the Oilers’ 1-yard line.
But running quarterback Latese Edwards lost the handle on the football, fumbled and Heidelberg Defensive back Alrekus Graves scooped the loose ball and ran 99 yards for a touchdown. Craft tacked on the first of his 2-point conversion runs, and Heidelberg had its first lead of the game, 14-12.
The lead lasted less than three minutes.
Olive found Omar Wilson with a 23-yard scoring pass as Charleston regained the lead and Flowers tacked on a 15-yard scoring run with 25 seconds left to play in the first half.
The 26-14 lead would hold through the third period before the Craft-to-Bradley hook-up set the stage for the endgame.
Craft completed 3-of-11 passes for 5 yards, including the TD to Bradley. He also led the Oilers in rushing, with 98 yards on 18 carries.
Riley finished with six catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, while Wilson had four grabs for 58 yards and a score.
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