Picayune running back Darrell Smith rumbles through Pascagoula's defenders in a Round 2 rematch on November 17, 2023. Picayune has won back-to-back 5A State Championships and is seeking their third in a row in the first season as a 6A school. (Photo credit: Brett Merrill)
The winners across each of the 7 classifications on Friday will advance to the Mississippi Gridiron Classic State Championship games being hosted by Ole Miss in Oxford November 30th through December 2nd.
High school football is winding down after an exciting season in communities all across Mississippi.
Four teams in each of the new seven classifications under the purview of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) remain in the hunt for the coveted golden football trophy to be awarded to the State Champion.
MHSAA, which governs sports and activities among mostly public schools in the Magnolia State, added a seventh classification this season to help provide parity, narrowing the gap between the largest student enrollment and the smallest in each classification.
The following teams are competing in either North or South State title games this Friday night, the day after Thanksgiving:
North State: Madison Central (8-4) at Starkville (9-3)
South State: Oak Grove (11-1) at Brandon (10-2)
North State: Grenada (10-3) at South Panola (11-1)
South State: Picayune (10-2) at West Jones (12-0)
North State: West Point (9-3) at Clarksdale (9-3)
South State: Gautier (8-4) at Laurel (7-6)
North State: Houston (11-1) at Louisville (13-0)
South State: Poplarville (10-3) at Columbia (13-0)
North State: Amanda Elzy (8-4) at Winona (13-0)
South State: Noxubee County (9-4) at Jefferson County (9-3)
North State: Union (12-1) at Charleston (11-2)
South State: Heidelberg (10-3) at Raleigh (11-2)
North State: Vardaman (12-0) at Biggersville (10-1)
South State: Taylorsville (8-5) at Velma Jackson (12-0)
The winners of these matchups will meet in their respective classification’s State Championship game next week.
This year’s State Championship games, known as the 2023 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Gridiron Classic, will be played at Ole Miss’s Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium on Thursday, November 30th, Friday, December 1st and Saturday, December 2nd.
“This year marks something very special with the addition of the 7A classification, and we could not be more pleased to celebrate the milestone with our championships hosted at Ole Miss,” said MHSAA Executive Director Rickey Neaves in a statement. “We are thankful for partnerships with so many organizations that make our championships possible, and we appreciate the folks at Ole Miss being ready to host the event again.”
Four of the last five MHSAA football state championships were played at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, with the 2020 games hosted at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson. The football state championships were last hosted by Ole Miss in 2015 and 2017.
“We are thrilled that Oxford will once again be the host site for MHSAA football state championships,” said Kinney Ferris, Visit Oxford Executive Director. “Oxford has tremendous offerings for the traveling teams and their fans with exceptional restaurants, hotels and shopping.”
Expanded to a three-day event, the games begin on Thursday, November 30 with Class 1A at 4:00 pm and Class 5A at 7:30 pm. Class 2A and Class 6A championships will be played at 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively, on Friday, December 1st. Then, on Saturday, December 2nd, Class 4A will play at Noon, followed by Class 3A at 3:30 pm and Class 7A at 7:00 pm.