Trinity, Franklin Co. finish atop SW Miss polls

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 15, 2006

For the third consecutive year, the top teams in the BIG andLittle Seven of the Southwest Mississippi Prep Sports Footballpolls have captured state championships.

The Franklin County Bulldogs of the Mississippi High SchoolActivities Association and the Natchez Trinity Episcopal Saints ofthe Mississippi Private School Association finish atop theirrespective polls. As an added bonus, the Copiah Academy Colonels(No. 2 in the Little Seven) captured a state title, as well.

The Colonels pulled 4 first place votes but Trinity edged themby 2 points for the top rung.

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These three schools join 2004 titlelist Brookhaven (BIG in 4A)and Simpson Academy (Little in AA) and 2005 champions Hazlehurst(BIG in 3A) and Simpson, as state champions from SouthwestMississippi.

In the BIG Seven, the Bulldogs (14-1) registered all 7first-place votes for 49 points. Franklin County, coached by GradyMcCluskey, captured the Class 3A state championship with a 23-13win over the previously-unbeaten Nettleton Tigers at MississippiVeterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

Following Franklin County was 6-4A runner-up McComb at No. 2.Defending 3A Hazlehurst, which fell to the Bulldogs in the SouthState 3A finals 21-7, came in at No. 3.

Brookhaven, Tylertown, Natchez and Mendenhall rounded out theBIG Seven.

In the Little Seven, the Saints (12-2) rallied behind an injuredStevan Ridley to pick up a 28-27 win over Briarfield, La. for theMPSA Class A title. Ridley, an LSU commitment who ran for 318 yardson 52 rushes, finished his 5-year career with nearly 7,000 yardsrushing. Trinity, coached by David King, had 42 points and 2first-place votes.

Copiah Academy, the MPSA AA runner-up to Simpson last year,started the year slow but came on strong towards the end. Followinga slim 15-13 loss to Hillcrest Christian, head coach MitchMitchell’s Colonels were 3-4 and in danger of not making thepost-season.

The Colonels (10-4) rallied for an impressive 7-game winningstreak; that was capped off with a 24-21 win over Kirk Academy atMississippi College’s Robinson-Hale Stadium. Mitchell’s ballclubtallied 40 points and 4 first-place nominations.

Brookhaven Academy (11-2), behind all-purpose player PriceSessums and new head coach Bo Milton, finished in the No. 3slot.

Wesson, Amite County, Centreville and Parklane concluded theLittle Seven.