- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Lafayette built a big first-half lead and then leaned on its stingy defense to beat Poplarville 27-12 and win the Mississippi Class 4A state championship on Saturday.

Lafayette (13-2) won its third state title and first since 2011.

The Commodores held Poplarville to just 89 yards rushing in the first half and forced two turnovers. The second was a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Brandon Turnage with 17 seconds left in the second quarter that gave Lafayette a 20-0 halftime lead.

Lafayette’s Will Ard was 6 of 7 passing for 104 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His touchdown pass was a 77-yarder to Tyler Williams that gave Lafayette a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Poplarville (12-2) was led by Jesse Pernell, who ran for 216 yards and a touchdown.

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