TUPELO • For the first time since 2015, the Oxford Chargers finished the regular season as division champs. They also clinched the first Class 6A division championship in school history.
Oxford beat Tupelo, 14-3, in a defensive slugfest held at Golden Wave Field on Friday night. Oxford finished the regular season 10-1 overall and 7-0 in 1-6A.
Oxford will host Warren Central in the first round of the playoffs, while Tupelo enters as the No. 3 seed and will travel to South Panola.
The Chargers first joined Class 6A in 2017, missing the playoffs in its initial season before grabbing a No. 2 seed last year. This season, there was no question that Oxford was the class of the division.
“First of all I’m so proud of our senior group,” Oxford coach Chris Cutcliffe said. “I think we have a really special group of seniors and a lot of good football players, but more importantly a lot of good leaders. I’m so happy and proud for them.”
Tupelo (7-4, 5-2) got on the board first with a Tanner Goggans 32-yard field goal, but Oxford responded in the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run by J.J. Pegues on his first carry.
Following a failed fake punt in the third quarter, Pegues rumbled 54 yards for his second touchdown run on his second carry to put Oxford up, 14-3.
Tupelo’s offense couldn’t get going in the second half.
After the fake punt, Tupelo was held to only 17 yards of offense and was forced to punt twice. Overall, Tupelo only managed 249 yards (194 passing, 55 rushing) and was held to 1 of 11 on third-down conversions.
“They just got after us and when we had our chances and we didn’t make plays,” Tupelo coach Trent Hammond said. “We have to do a better job. Hats off to them, they just got after us up front. We just need to execute at the end of the day.”
Turning Point: With 6:40 left in the third quarter, Tupelo failed to convert a fake punt at midfield. Two plays later, Oxford went up 14-3 on Pegues’ 54-yard run.
Point Man: Oxford QB John Meagher finished with 17 carries for 132 yards. He was 4 of 6 passing for 19 yards.
Talking Point: “I thought that was a huge play. Those are game changing plays one way or the other when they happen. I was proud of our guys for being alert and ready for it and stepping up and making the play.” – Cutcliffe, on the fake punt
• This is the first time Oxford has beat Tupelo in back-to-back seasons.
• Trip Wilson finished with 6 catches for 129 yards.