High School Sports

Resurrection aims to bring title trophy back to 'Goula

 Lumberton running back Daylon Burks tries to out run Resurrection's Jackson Byrd, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Lumberton running back Daylon Burks tries to out run Resurrection's Jackson Byrd, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. SUN HERALD

The Resurrection Catholic football team has a chance to bring the city of Pascagoula its first state championship since 1987.

The Eagles (13-0) seek their first state title in football when they take on Simmons (11-0) at 11 a.m. Friday in the Class 1A state title game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.

The last football team to bring a state title to "Mississippi's Flagship City" was the 1987 Pascagoula High School when Shane Matthews and Terrell Buckley were competing for the Panthers.

Both Simmons and RCS are capable of scoring points, but defense may prove to be the theme of the game.

The RCS defense has eight shutouts this season, while Simmons has a total of seven.

Whichever team runs the ball the best on Friday will likely return home with a state championship trophy.

Simmons rolls into Oxford with plenty of speed on offense, including Mississippi State commit Nero Nelson, who has 1,679 all-purpose yards and 32 total touchdowns this season.

Sports Guys give insights, predictions on St. Stanislaus and Resurrection's championship games this week

Nelson rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns in a 46-0 victory over Smithville to advance to Friday's title bout.

Sisson compares Nelson to a player he coached at Pascagoula and continued his career at Ole Miss.

"He's the real deal," RCS coach Scott Sisson said. "On film, he reminds me a lot of a tall Senquez (Golson). He's that fast. He's very shifty, hard to get a shoulder on. He's agile. He's what you call an athlete. He can play quarterback, running back or split out and go up and get it. He's very scary."

Nelson isn't the only threat to run the ball for Simmons with a more powerful Marquez Pam also capable of carrying the load.

"When he's in the backfield, he's a load to get down," Sisson said. "He's shifty, but more north and south than Nero is."

Simmons and RCS have been without question the two most dominant teams in 1A this season.

Simmons outscored the competition by a total score of 170-12 in three playoff games.

Resurrection won its three playoff games by a combined score of 89-8 and has only given up a total of 16 points (all to Lumberton) in the last nine games.

The Eagles have given up 40 points all season while Simmons has allowed 30.

While Pack and Nelson will have the ball in their hands a great deal Friday, RCS can rely on four different running backs - Patrick Watts, Dillon Jolly, Cearly Parker and Justice Sharp.

Watts has been impressive lately after making the move back to running back from tight end. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior has run 155 times for a team-high 1,167 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Jolly, a senior, is the second-leading rusher with 117 carries for 962 yards and 14 scores.

"We moved (Watts) to tight end because Jolly proved himself in the backfield along with Cearly Parker and Justice Sharp," Sisson said. "Parker wound up playing mostly defense. Jolly ended up with a high ankle sprain. We moved Watts back to running back and he's getting better each week. We now have a fresh stable of running backs and that has helped us put together a lot of long drives."

The rotation has worked well for all the running backs.

"(Watts) will go in one series and I'll go in the next series," Jolly said. "It's not one running back getting tired carrying the whole load. He's got me, Pat Watts and Cearly Parker rotating at running back. It keeps us fresh."

Sisson and his staff have done their best to keep the Eagles focused headed into the title contest.

"We really don't talk about (making history)," Sisson said. "We let the community talk about it. They've already made history for this school. We'd love to go up there and finish this thing. We've worked so hard for it."