Friday night was special for the McComb Tigers and their fans. Against the backdrop of homecoming and senior night, the Tigers’ game against the Raymond Rangers was key factor in determining playoff positioning.
Both teams left it all out on the field, but in the end, McComb came away with the 26-14 victory. Based off of their win and North Pike's victory over South Pike, McComb claimed the District 6-4A crown and No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
"This has been an unusual year and the ball didn't bounce our way all of the time," McComb head coach Willie Brown said. "But we came out on top and we are just happy that we are in the position that we are in now."
After beginning the evening with a celebration of seniors, McComb took charge and set the tone early for the game. Less than two minutes into the first quarter, quarterback Chris Roberson connected with Jameer Lewis for a 41-yard touchdown pass, firing up the crowd inside C.C. Moore Stadium and giving the Tigers an early 6-0 lead
“We came out, we were kinda slow, we were trying to get ourselves together… but everybody came back out on the same page and we finished off good,” Roberson said.
The score put the Tigers (6-2, 4-1) in a good place for the start of the game.
The defense fed off of the strong start preventing the offense of the Rangers (4-6, 1-4) from finding its footing.
Field position was key for McComb in the second quarter. After failing to score deep in Raymond territory, the Tiger defense came up big once again keeping the Rangers from moving the ball at all.
It resulted in excellent field position for the Tigers and they capitalized as a Lakevion Harris touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion from Roberson, put McComb ahead 14-0.
With just under two minutes left in the quarter, Roberson threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Edric Spurlock, bringing the score to 20-0.
“As soon as my quarterback called ‘hut!’ I was wide-open from the jump—I didn’t even finish my route,” Spurlock said. “I threw my hand up, Roberson saw me, I got the perfect pass in the endzone.”
Despite the 20-0 deficit, Raymond did not quit fighting and retaliated with its first touchdown of the night, a 35-yard pass from quarterback Trent Singleton to Dontavious Mack with just 15 seconds remaining in the first half. The Tigers went into halftime leading 20-7.
For most of the third quarter, both offenses found success moving the ball but both struggled finishing drives. That streak was broken, however, with about two and a half minutes left in the third quarter, when McComb fumbled the ball over to Raymond who quickly capitalized on the Tiger mistake.
On the ensuing play, the Rangers inched closer with a touchdown pass and with the extra point the Tigers' lead shrunk to six at 20-14.
McComb then turned to two of its leaders to help build more distance. Roberson and Wiltavious Hebert made key runs on the ensuing drive which ultimately wrapped with Roberson scoring on a run.
After the game, Spurlock believed the festivities helped the Tigers in the ballgame.
“We played into the hype, we played ball, finished the game well. Playoffs are next week, and we’re looking forward to doing great,” he said.
“It was a tough win,” Coach Brown said. “Raymond played pretty good, we knew they were not gonna lay down and they gave us a run for our money… in the end we were able to overcome.”
Brown also shared that even though his team won, Raymond played a good game and McComb made some mistakes.
“We had to learn how to continue to play with pride and not give up and not whine and we had to do things that winners do. We had to get back to the basics,” he said.