Hattiesburg falls in annual 'Little Brown Jug' game

By JESSE JOHNSON,

The Laurel Tornadoes ended a five-year drought Friday night and won the 98th annual “Little Brown Jug” game with a commanding 35-19 win over Hattiesburg.

The Tigers had no answers for Laurel’s speed and athleticism. In the first half of play, Laurel jumped out front on three big plays – including two runs of 53 and 32 yards and a long pass for 61 yards.

Late in the second half, Hattiesburg finally scored when senior Anthony Bullock stripped the ball and returned it to the end zone on a 21-yard run.

Hattiesburg head coach Tony Vance was very displeased with penalties and turnovers by his team.

“These guys need to act like they know how to play football, plain and simple,” Vance said. “I am not pleased with anything, there is nothing to be pleased about.”

In the third quarter of play, the Tigers intercepted the ball, drove down to the seven-yard line only to turn the ball over on downs. Laurel quickly converts an 84-yard touchdown catch with 9:01 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers continued to show some life in the second half, but the momentum slowly diminished with costly penalties and turnovers.

With 2:30 left in the third quarter, Hattiesburg decided to make a quarterback change.

With Bullock snapping the ball, the Tigers hit wide receiver Rhyen Brisco in stride for an impressive 26-yard touchdown. 

In the fourth quarter, Laurel chose to run the ball and focus on time management, which made all the difference in the closing minutes.

Hattiesburg recovered a fumble in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, but it was too late in the game to erase the deficit.

In the end, Laurel was awarded the prize – the “Little Brown Jug,” given to the winner of the state’s oldest rivalry, dating back to 1922.

After the game, Vance said he thought his guys played a little bit better in the second half than they did in the first.

“We just didn’t play enough to win,” he said.  “Untimely turnovers and penalties usually lead to losses and those are the things you just can’t do. Hats off to Coach Breland, his boys came to play. They hung around and they fought and I’m proud of my team.”

Vance said ultimately, that’s the thing he’s most proud of about his team.

“They won’t quit,” he said. “I’m proud of them for fighting but at the end of the day, we have got to do a better job.” 

Hattiesburg has a bye-week this Friday and resumes play Sept. 13, hosting rival Oak Grove, who won Friday 43-28 over visiting Wayne County.