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Chandler Pittman’s 5 touchdowns power Magee to MHSAA 3A Football State Championship
JACKSON — Folks who live between Jackson and Hattiesburg already knew Magee quarterback Chandler Pittman was a special, special player.
Now the rest of the state knows too.
The 3A Mr. Football winner went wild Friday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium, racking up 345 yards of total offense, accounting for five touchdowns and lifting the Trojans to a 49-26 win over Noxubee County and the program’s first football state championship in two decades.
“It feels great,” Pittman said. “This was 20 years in the making. A lot of hard work went into this, a lot of late nights. It’s an incredible feeling and right now, I can’t even describe it.”
Pittman was the catalyst, but there weren’t many aspects of this Magee offense that wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
Jawon Shaw and Cayden Bridges combined to rush for 78 yards to complement Pittman’s 187. Bridges led the way in receptions with five catches for 49 yards. Xavier Franks had four grabs for 56 yards and a touchdown. Kyerston Tucker snagged four passes for 45 yards and two scores.
Collectively, the Trojans rolled to 474 yards of total offense. The 49 points they put on the board were one more point than Noxubee County had given up in its last seven games combined.
“We had heard a lot about how good Noxubee was on defense,” Franks said. “But we also knew that they don’t play against some of these explosive offenses we have in the South, and they hadn’t seen anyone like us. It feels good to come out and do what we did after hearing all that.”
And that was the story of the game. The Trojans scored touchdowns on four of their five first-half possessions and built a 28-20 halftime lead thanks to two stops from the defense — one turnover on downs and one fumble.
Pittman made play after play. He responded to an early Noxubee touchdown with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tucker. After a Tiger fumble on the ensuing possession, he led the Trojans right back down the field on a 10-play, 91-yard touchdown drive. This time, he found Franks over the middle for a four-yard scoring pass.
Noxubee County kept pace for the rest of the first half thanks to scoring drives of 36 and 70 yards, but Magee scored with 44 seconds left in the half on Pittman’s second touchdown run of the day to give them the 28-20 lead at the break.
The Trojans got the ball back to start the second half and drove 70 yards to set up the play of the game. On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Pittman took the snap, rolled to his right all the way to the sideline, reversed field and ran back to the middle before setting his feet and hitting Tucker in the back of the end zone for the score.
It was the kind of play that would have brought a smile to the face of former Mt. Olive quarterback Steve McNair, who made so many similar plays on this same field during his high school and college career.
“All I know is (Pittman) wasn’t a Dandy Dozen player and apparently he’s not an all-star,” Magee coach Teddy Dyess said. “But I’ll take him on my team. What a special player, and what a performance.”
Magee got the ball back via the fumble four plays later, and Bridges cashed in the good field position with a 10-yard scoring run to put the Trojans ahead 42-20.
They never looked back.
“I don’t even know what to say about Chandler,” Franks said. “He’s worked so hard to get to this point, we all have. He is a great leader on this team and he’s just a great player who makes big plays.”
The state title is the fifth for Magee, and it comes at the end of a season that was challenging in ways none of those first four championship teams could have ever imagined. The Trojans spent two weeks in quarantine and missed a pair of non-region games against Natchez and Mendenhall, but got healthy in time to play all of their region games.
They still had to go on the road for the first two rounds of the playoffs, including a trip to Morton to face a very good Panthers team in the second round. Just like they did Saturday, these Trojans handled everything that was thrown at them.
“I’m just so happy for our team and our community,” Dyess said. “We have great support from these fans and I couldn’t be prouder to bring home this championship to them.”