CORINTH The Corinth Warriors avenged last season’s postseason loss and booked their ticket to the MHSAA Class 4A state championship with a win on Friday night.

Corinth beat Greenwood, 31-14, in a defensive domination in the 4A North half championship. Corinth (13-1) advances to face Poplarville in the 4A championship on Saturday at 11 a.m. at M.M. Roberts Stadium at Southern Miss.

It will be Corinth’s first state championship appearance since 2001.

“We didn’t do anything special tonight that we haven’t done week in and week out,” Corinth coach Todd Lowery said. “I have a bunch of guys that are hungry and have been overlooked and over picked. I think tonight’s when they opened that up. They wanted to prove it to everybody.”

Greenwood (13-1) came into the game averaging 38 points and 214 passing yards per game, but the Corinth defense didn’t allow much at all, even after taking a lead in the first quarter.

DT Sheffield accounted for two touchdowns in the first quarter, a 1-yard rush and a 40-yard pass to Cayden Betts, to put Corinth up 14-0 and forced the Bulldogs to try to pass.

That didn’t work as Greenwood quarterback Deandrea Smith finished only 7 of 20 passing for 93 yards and an interception. He also had two second-half fumbles, which resulted in Corinth’s last two touchdowns that put the game away.

“We just knew that if we played assignment football like we have all year, we would do our thing,” linebacker Carter Bonds said. “We’ve showed out on both sides of the ball all year.”

Smith scored a rushing touchdown in the second and third quarter to cut Corinth’s lead to 17-14, but the Bulldogs fumbled on each of their last three possessions.

Following two of those fumbles, Nazarius Jones and Tam Patterson each punched in short touchdowns to put Corinth up 31-14 in the closing minutes.

Extra points

Turning Point: Up 17-14, Corinth forced a fumble and Carter Bonds came up with the ball on the Greenwood 43-yard line. Corinth then scored in five plays, all rushing, to go up 24-14 with 4:49 left in the game.

Point Man: Sheffield finished with 12 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. He was 4 of 6 passing for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Talking Point: “I don’t think they will need any extra motivation, but we have unfinished business and our goal is to take care of it next week. We will have finished business after next Saturday.” – Lowery.

Notes

• Corinth has never won a state championship in football.

• Corinth rushed for 424 yards.

• John Ellis Murrah booted a 23-yard field goal to put the Warriors up 17-7 at the half.

dalton.middleton@journalinc.com

Twitter: @DLMiddleton8

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