State Championship featured two phenomenal quarterbacks in actionBy ANDREW ABADIE,
The Class 6A State Title game featured a battle between two extremely talented dual-threat quarterbacks.
For Horn Lake, quarterback Raydarious Jones put up over 265 yards of total offense with two touchdowns. Oak Grove quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had 375 yards of total offense and threw for four touchdowns.
Each quarterback featured a signature play in the game, and it showcased not only each of their talents, but how each quarterback was able to consistently switch momentum in their teams’ favor.
For Jones, it was his 51-yard touchdown pass at the 3:53 mark in the third quarter. Oak Grove held momentum out of the half, as the Warriors had the 20-17 halftime lead. The Warriors had an opportunity to go up by two scores with solid field position if the team could have made a stop on third-an-10. However, Jones fired a dagger to Octavious Williams that kept the game at one possession and put Horn Lake up 24-20. ‘
“The one thing that went through my head all night was adversity,” Jones said. “We face adversity every day. Some people aren’t good with facing adversity but we practice facing adversity every day. Coach throws things at us every day up to this point, and that’s what we did today.”
For Plumlee, it was his second touchdown pass of the night that came within the final minute of the first quarter. On fourth-and-9 at the Horn Lake 38-yard line, the Warriors gambled and came up big. Plumlee calmly dropped back and hit Liam Breithaupt for a 38-yard touchdown catch to bring Oak Grove to within one point, 14-13.
“It was a play we had worked on,” Oak Grove coach Drew Causey said. “We had gotten in a quads (receiver) look. We had the tight end block then kind of release, and it was just to kind of keep his eyes on the guy who had (Breithaupt) man to man. We kind of felt like they would lose him and he did and walked in for a touchdown.”
Heading into the game, Jones said he treated the state championship game like it was any other game. Jones didn’t feel the need to have to match the level of Plumlee, but rather have faith in his team.
“It was just another game,” Jones said. “Right now it feels like just another game, it doesn’t feel like a state championship. I treat every game the same. I just wanted to be 1-0 at the end of the day. I had faith in my defense the whole game. We didn’t get down on each other and we didn’t give up. We encouraged each other.”
Despite, what would be the game-ending interception, and just his third interception of the year on Oak Grove’s final drive, Causey had nothing but praise and admiration for his quarterback.
“He’s by far the best player I’ve ever been around,” Causey said. “The best kid I’ve ever been around. You couldn’t trade him for one player. I don’t care who it was I’d take him over everybody. He’s the best. I love him.”