The Marion County Football Championship trophy has found a new home and the Columbia Wildcats are undefeated no longer. The West Marion Trojans outlasted the Wildcats 7-6 in overtime to claim their seventh county title in 10 years, bringing it back to Foxworth after it spent the past two years at Columbia.
“To get the county championship, that means so much,” West Marion head coach Brad Duncan said after victory. “That group of seniors, we talked about it all week how they wanted to bring it back over here and now we got it back.”
“I love it,” Jartavious “Tater Rabbit” Martin said. “The county championship is always big; it’s just about as big as the state championship around here.”
Meanwhile, East Marion’s bid to claim the Region 8-2A title fell short at Collins as the Eagles lost 18-6 to the Tigers. Columbia Academy remains winless on the season as it lost 41-22 at home to Wayne Academy.
West Marion-7 Columbia-6
Forty-eight minutes of football weren’t enough on the West side of the river as the pair of Region 8-3A heavyweights dueled to a 0-0 draw to go into overtime.
The Trojans (5-2, 2-1) got the first crack at it in OT from the Columbia 10, and Martin sniffed out the end zone from three yards out on third-and-goal for the first score of the game. With the biggest kick of his life, Qavonte Swanigan drilled the PAT to give West Marion the 7-0 advantage.
The Wildcats (6-1, 2-1) nearly gave their fans a collective heart attack getting it to the 6-inch yard line for fourth-and-goal, but Greg Fortenberry plowed his way into the end zone to make it 7-6. Columbia tried to tie it to send it to a second overtime with the PAT, but Garrett Helman’s kick fell short as the West Marion players and fans soaked in the victory.
“It feels great,” Swanigan said postgame. “Getting it back after (Columbia) got it two years in a row, it feels awesome. We’re going out with a bang.”
Swanigan said as he lined up to kick the extra point all sorts of things were running through his minds, but his teammates having faith in him gave him the confidence to put it through the uprights.
Both defenses were mightily impressive throughout as the Trojans sacked Columbia quarterback Carter Smith three times and Swanigan picked him once, and Dashod Ball and Josh Brown both intercepted West Marion’s Jayden Duncan.
Next up for the Trojans is Tylertown (1-5, 0-3) at home next Friday. The Chiefs lost to Magee 46-14 Friday.
The Wildcats will stay on the road next week as they travel to take on the Seminary Bulldogs (2-4, 1-2). Seminary lost Friday to Jeff Davis County 40-14.
Collins-18 East Marion-6
The Eagles (3-6, 3-1) had a chance to sew up the district title at Collins but fell short in an 18-6 loss. However, at worst they will be the No. 2 seed representing Region 8-2A.
East Marion will play at Franklin County (2-5), who will be coming off a 21-20 loss to Port Gipson, next Friday.
Wayne Academy-41 Columbia Academy-22
In its bid to get a share of the district title, Columbia Academy (0-8, 0-2) fell short Friday at home in a 41-22 loss to Wayne Academy. The Cougars fell behind 41-0 at halftime but did rally to score 22 points in the second half.
The Cougars will close out the regular season next week at Oak Forest Academy. They still have an outside chance to make the playoffs with a win, but they will need some help.