MHSAA 1A football semifinals preview: Will we get the Nanih Waiya – Lumberton rematch?

The MHSAA North and South Championships are finally here, and the 1A matchups feature a showdown of undefeated teams in the North and a real head-scratcher in the South. Here’s a look at the 1A football games set for this Friday night.

1A North

Biggersville (12-0) at Nanih Waiya (11-0)

PICK THE WINNER | 1A FOOTBALL BRACKET

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Biggersville
Round 1: Beat West Lowndes 36-14
Round 2: Beat Tupelo Christian 32-17

Nanih Waiya
Round 1: Beat Myrtle 45-8
Round 2: Beat Baldwyn 36-3

KEY PLAYERS

Biggersville
RB/LB Goldman Butler — 1,673 all-purpose yards, 24 TD, 24 tackles, 5.5 TFL
QB Drew Rowsery — 38 of 55 for 622 yards, 14 TD, 343 rushing yards, 9 TD
DL Bryson Pollard — 29 tackles, 14.5 TFL

Nanih Waiya
RB/DB Austin Sanders — 1,527 total yards, 21 TD, 52 tackles, 10 TFL, 1 FR
RB/LB Taylor Higginbotham — 8 total TD, 103 tackles, 19 TFL, 6 sacks, 1 INT
LB Kendon Sanders — 87 tackles, 26 TFL, 5 sacks

THE SKINNY:

Who comes out on top in 1A North is anyone’s guess. Both Biggersville and Nanih Waiya have looked unstoppable all season, and neither team seems to have a discernible weakness.

The matchup features a showdown between two of the most productive tailbacks in the state at any level.

Biggersville’s Goldman Butler rushed for 174 yards in the first round against West Lowndes, then toted the ball 41 times for 263 yards against Tupelo Christian last week. Nanih Waiya’s Austin Sanders had a light load in the first round against Myrtle with 10 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns, then scored two more times to go along with 105 yards against Baldwyn last week.

This is one of those old-school games between two teams looking to run the ball, and Nanih Waiya’s got the better defense on paper.

PICK THE WINNER | 1A FOOTBALL BRACKET

1A South

Simmons (4-0) at Lumberton (10-1)

PICK THE WINNER | 1A FOOTBALL BRACKET

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Simmons
Round 1: Beat Resurrection Catholic 36-10
Round 2: Beat Sebastopol 56-26

Lumberton
Round 1: Beat McAdams by forfeit
Round 2: Beat Stringer 34-6

KEY PLAYERS

Simmons
QB Devonte Rush — no stats available
RB Vontrez Rush — no stats available
RB/LB Jermaine Edwards — no stats available

Lumberton
RB Robert Henry — 113 carries, 1,440 yards, 21 TD
RB/LB Rodney Parker — 45 carries, 450 yards, 6 TD, 48 tackles, 3 TFL 1 INT
LB Jonathan Edwards — 71 tackles, 15 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR

THE SKINNY:

We don’t know much about Simmons. The Blue Devils didn’t start playing ball until mid-October, and have only played the games they’ve needed to play to get to this point. They finished 2-0 in Region 3 to get into the playoffs with wins over Ethel and McAdams.

What we do know is that they rolled to 352 rushing yards in the first round against Resurrection and then boat-raced a really good Sebastopol team that was 10-2 going into that second-round matchup.

Lumberton is hoping to repeat its performance from last year’s South State title game, when it beat Richton 55-7. The Wolves have been on a mission of redemption all season, looking to atone for a 28-13 loss to Nanih Waiya in the 1A state title game last season.

Hell will freeze over if Lumberton’s Robert Henry doesn’t eclipse the 7,000-mark for career rushing yards Friday night. He’s sitting at 6,941 with 87 career touchdowns headed into this weekend, and he’d love to get the state title ring to add to the list of accomplishments.

PICK THE WINNER | 1A FOOTBALL BRACKET

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