Cathedral was just as dominant the second time around.
In their second meeting of the year, the Green Wave’s potent rushing attack got the best of St. Aloysius once again.
This time, though, the prize was much sweeter. With a 49-14 win over their biggest rival, Cathedral won its first state championship in school history.
The Green Wave made a statement with its potent run game immediately in the MHSAA Class 1A championships Friday in Starkville. Jardarius Anderson returned the opening kickoff 74 yards to put Cathedral in a position to go up 7-0 two plays later.
St. Aloysius got on the board in the first quarter after Connor Smith connected with Lane Hynum for a 7-yard touchdown reception, but the Flashes’ defense didn’t do its offense any favors.
From that point, Cathedral scored 42 unanswered points through late in the fourth quarter.
Green Wave coach Ron Rushing expected his quarterback Wyatt Booth to play a large role in establishing the run.
He did just that. On 14 carries for 108 yards, Booth accounted for four rushing touchdowns.
But in racking up 288 yards on the ground, Cathedral relied on Dee Fleming to make “beastmode” type plays, like a statement-making stiff arm on a touchdown that was called back in the second quarter.
“You just have to be unstoppable,” Fleming said. “That’s what makes plays. I knew I had to make a play for the guy next to me.”
Cathedral’s strong start stifled St. Aloysius’ defense, something Booth attributes to the mentality his teammates took into this game.
“We were just meaner than they were,” Booth said. “We came out ready to play and probably were more prepared than they were.”
In their first trip to the state title game since 1981, the Flashes may have been sent home without the gold football but don’t walk away from a 13-2 finish empty-handed.
“We only lost to one team this year and it was them,” the St. Aloysius coach said. “We feel like they’re the best team in 1A but still feel like we could have played better … hopefully we can get them back one day.”
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.