Hamel McGraw and the 22 other seniors on the Jackson Prep football team had never won a state championship.
The seniors across the field from them Friday had never lost one.
That all changed Friday night as Prep rolled to a 34-10 victory over rival Jackson Academy, ending JA's bid for a 4-peat, in the Academy AAA, Division I championship game at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Jackson Prep coach Ricky Black. "These seniors have not won one, which is kind of a tradition for Prep. We have been here so many times the last three years and hadn't seen it happen. It's just great to have this feeling again."
Prep (13-0) took the championship trophy back to Lakeland Drive for the first time since 2008.
The Patriots finished a perfect season for the first time since 2007 when Kaleb Barlow's miracle touchdown forced overtime in the title game against JA.
The Patriots didn't need any last-second magic this time around.
McGraw rushed for 200 yards (1 TD), Dandy Dozen quarterback Ryan Buchanan tossed two touchdowns and the defense did the rest in a game the Patriots blew open in the second half.
McGraw, who finished his stellar career with 3,506 yards, was plenty motivated after losing on a last-minute field goal to JA last season.
"Walking off this field last year made me sick, sick to my stomach," said McGraw. "I didn't want that feeling again. I am so glad all of the guys came out to play tonight and this year we took home the gold."
Buchanan's 68-yard strike to Rivers McGraw early in the fourth quarter gave Prep a 24-10 lead after JA had trimmed it to 17-10.
Buchanan, an Ole Miss commit, completed 8 of 20 passes for 117 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown to Chandler Pride in the first quarter.
"To say this feels incredible would be an understatement," said Buchanan. "I have prayed for this game every night since that loss here last year. It's all I have been thinking about."
Prep rolled up 401 yards of offense, while holding the Raiders to 177 yards.
"Out defensive coaching staff had an outstanding game plan and we executed," said Black.
JA finished 11-2, losing to Prep for the second time this season after a 27-24 overtime loss in October.
"Offensively we had a hard time getting things going," said fourth-year JA coach David Sykes. "They played extremely well. We didn't play well enough to win."
The Raiders were looking to become just the fourth team in Mississippi history to win four consecutive state titles.
"We had a great year this year and had a great run," said Sykes. "It's time to get back to work and see if we can get back here again next year."
Nick Guy scored JA'sTD on a 1-yard run in the second quarter that trimmed the deficit to 14-7 at the half.
But the second half was all Prep.
"I thought we really came out and dominated the second half," said Black. "We had talked this week about just finishing the mission."