For the ninth straight season, the Pine Bluff Zebras have practiced during the Thanksgiving holiday in preparation for a chance to earn a spot in a state title game. On Friday night, the Zebras defeated the Searcy Lions to punch their ticket to their fifth state championship game in the last six years. Searcy jumped out on the Zebras with 71-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.

The Zebras wasted no time to put points on the board as Tyler Foots threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jyrimee Thompson to cut the lead 7-6. Later in the first quarter, Thompson showed his defensive skills with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Foots and Thompson connected again for a 41-yard touchdown pass, and Foots later ran for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Zebras a 28-7 lead.

Wesley Hunt intercepted a tipped pass and returned it into Zebra territory just before going into halftime. Searcy started the second half strong with a good drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run.

However, Pine Bluff retaliated with another touchdown pass from Foots to Thompson to put the game away for the Zebras. Foots was 11 of 21 passing with 130 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 166 yards.

Braylon Moody ran the ball 19 times for 99 yards. Thompson had 7 receptions for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Isiah Singleton and Martavius Thompson finished with 7 and 6.5 tackles respectively.

Wesley Hunt and Jyrimee Thompson both had one interception. The Pine Bluff Zebras will face the Greenwood Bulldogs in the 6A state championship game at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.