Eight weeks ago, Taylorsville stymied Bay Springs in a 35-14 victory that gave the Tartars the Region 5-2A championship.
The victory proves even bigger now as the Tartars (14-0) will host the Bulldogs (11-3) in the South State championship game on Friday night at 7. The winner will face either Scott Central or Calhoun City on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Bay Springs’ three losses were to the Tartars, a West Jones team that will be playing for the 5A South State title and Class 4A Quitman. The Bulldogs reached the South State title game with a 28-8 victory over Richton.
Bay Springs used two second-half touchdowns to pull away after leading 14-8 at halftime.
The two-headed rushing machine of seniors Anson Windham and Jamarius Hosey accounted for all of the team’s rushing yards against Richton. Windham rushed 20 times for 176 yards and scored all four touchdowns, while Hosey rushed for 123 yards on 22 carries.
In the Sept. 27 loss to Taylorsville, the two backs — who have combined for 3,216 yards and 46 touchdowns this season — were held to 163 yards and one touchdown. Stopping those two again will be a key if Taylorsville looks for a repeat trip to the state championship game.
Also key will be Bay Springs’ ability to slow super sophomore quarterback Ty Keyes, who recently was honored as the state’s Class 2A Mr. Football. In the first meeting, he torched Bay Springs’ defense for 481 yards and four touchdowns.
Keyes and the Tartars won a defensive slugfest on Friday, 14-12 over Collins, to get the return to the South State title game. All the points were scored in the second quarter, with Keyes passing for one touchdown and rushing for another.
Collins held him to 154 yards and 9-of-17 passing with a 40-yard TD pass to Raven Arrington. Collins’ defense held the Tartars to 61 yards rushing.
Taylorsville has won 24 straight games.