LITTLE ROCK - Rhett Neumeier threw three touchdown passes en route to earning MVP honors, as Bigelow capped a perfect season by winning the 2A state title with a 28-14 win over East Poinsett County Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers (14-0) took a 13-0 lead in the opening period with Neumeier throwing touchdown passes of 46 yards to Ryan Hobbs and 55 yards to Easton Platt.
The Warriors (12-2) scored on the last play of the first half with Dennis Gaines catching a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Argo with the 2-point conversion making 13-8 at intermission.
But the Panthers wasted no time in padding their lead with Neumeier connecting with Brandt Tipton on a 22-yard strike on the opening possession of the third quarter to make it 20-8 with Neumeier’s extra point.
The Warriors drew closer with a 10-play, 73-yard drive that was capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Argo to Omar McCuiston early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers answered.
Bigelow marched 51 yards in eight plays with Carter Alexander scoring on a 4-yard run with the 2-point conversion making it 28-14.
Bigelow’s Jayden Dunlap recovered a fumble after an interception on the Warriors’ next possession to seal the victory.
Neumeier completed 12 of his 21 passes for 194 yards for the Panthers. Alexander added 67 yards rushing on 17 carries in the win.
Argo was 17-of-27 passing for 184 yards with two touchdowns for East Poinsett County with McCuiston catching six passes for 109 yards.
Bigelow’s Grant Gipson and East Poinsett County’s Michael Collins were the Burlsworth Award winners.
RECTOR 22, SPRING HILL 16, OT
LITTLE ROCK - Drew Henderson scored on a 4-yard run to start the extra session and Rector’s defense came up with a four-and-out to cap their comeback from a 16-0 deficit to win the state title on Thursday night.
Henderson was selected as the game’s MVP after racking up 187 yards rushing and two scores on 32 carries for the Cougars (10-0).
The Bears (9-4) led 16-0 thanks to TJ Tipton, who scored on a 47-yard run before returning a fumble 24 yards for a score with the 2-point conversions both being successful.
But Rector’s defense held the Bears scoreless the rest of the way, and Henderson scored on a 1-yard run with the successful 2-point conversion making 16-8 at halftime.
Kaden Avery, who added 101 yards rushing on 11 carries, scored on a 44-yard run with the two-point conversion tying the game at 16-all at the 5:38 mark of the third period.
On the ensuing possession, the Bears drove to Rector’s 22 before turning the ball over on downs.
Rector’s last three possessions in regulation all ended in Spring Hill territory that included a turnover in the red zone in the fourth quarter.
Tipton had 95 yards rushing on 20 carries for Spring Hill.
Rector’s Gage Thompson and Spring Hill’s Carson Moore were the Burlsworth Award winners.