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Taylorsville Tartars claim state championship with win over Winona

OXFORD – Taylorsville quarterback Ty Keyes had a coming out party of sorts on Friday as he led the Tartars to their first state title in 15 years.

Keyes, a 15-year-old freshman, finished his night with three touchdowns and threw for 333 yards as the Tartars (15-0) defeated Winona (14-1) 41-26 in the Class 2A state championship game.

“He’s been our starter all year,” Taylorsville coach Chuck Robertson said. “In the beginning of the year, he didn’t play well, he played great for a freshman, but there is a learning curve. He’s a competitor and a hard-working kid.”

Keyes opened the game with the first score of the night, tossing a 15-yard pass to LeTreal Jones for the 7-0 lead over Winona to cap an opening drive that included a 35-yard conversion on a 3rd and 25.

Winona answered on the following drive – their first in the game – with a 6-yard run from D.J. Ringo, tying the game at 7-7. That tie was shortlived with Tycarius Roberts putting Taylorsville ahead 14-7 with a 1-yard run into the end zone.

Though Winona found the end zone again in the first half off an 11-yard carry from quarterback JaTyler Moore, senior Perry Keyes blocked the PAT from the Tigers to give the Tartars a 14-13 lead over Winona at the halftime break.

In the second half, it was all about Taylorsville.

The Tartars scored 13 unanswered points in the third quarter, including a 78-yard pass from Ty to junior C.J. Williams. Roberts added his second touchdown at the halfway mark of the period, en route to his fourth straight game with at least 100 yards rushing. On Friday, the senior running back finished with 146 yards.

Taylorsville added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, though Winona made a late push at a comeback with two scores in the closing minutes of the game.

“We should have executed better than what we did (in the second half),” Winona head coach Joey Tompkins said. “It is what it is, the better team won today.”

Winona made history as the team marked their first appearance in a football championship game, capping off a huge season for the Tigers.

“It’s a big deal for our town and it would be nice to win for the first time, but I don’t think it will be the last time (we are here),” Tompkins said.