The whirlwind week began in the Mercedes Benz - Superdome as Keytaon Thompson and his team prepared to battle in-state power West Monroe for the grandest prize of all. Thompson grew up dreaming of moments like these. The New Orleans native set a goal as a youngster to hoist that state championship trophy and worked towards making it a reality as a high school senior.
"It is just an amazing feeling," Thompson said. "We were excited about the game and we felt like we had a good chance to win. I actually think it was a little harder than we thought it was going to be. They came out and showed us some different looks than they have shown all year. That's to be expected, but they came out and played hard.
"I have a lot of respect for (West Monroe). They are a great team and they have been in those type of games a lot of times. I am just so happy for our team to get the win and get the championship."
Prior to kickoff, Landry Walker received a welcome of sorts from arch-rival Edna Karr. As the Cougars were preparing to leave the playing surface after winning a state title of their own, they gave Thompson and his teammates their warmest of well wishes.
"That was amazing," Thompson said. "You know we have a huge rivalry with those guys. When we play them, we always want to win it. At the same time, we all grew up together. Some guys go to Karr and some guys go to Landry-Walker.
"When we get on the field against each other, we are doing all we can to win. When the game is over, it's back to being an Algiers family. It's all love."
With the emotion of the 50-21 state title win still fresh in his mind, Thompson's good fortune would continue. After seeing some social media buzz, Thompson learned officially that he was the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year.
"I saw an article about it first," Thompson explained. "I wasn't sure if it was real. It said that I was the Gatorade Player of the Year. I went and checked my e-mail and saw the e-mail from Gatorade. It was just a great feeling seeing that.
"It made me think back to this summer when me and my coach talked about everything. He told me that if I really worked hard, that we had a chance to win the state championship and that I could be considered for the Gatorade award.
"Looking back on all of that, it's just so rewarding. It really shows that if you work really hard that you can do some big things. It's a really blessing."
Thompson was set to sign his financial aid agreement with Mississippi State on Wednesday, but with a busy media schedule in front of him things got a little hectic. With school still in session, it was difficult to put a press conference together on short notice.
"After winning the state championship and the Gatorade award, I was doing a lot of TV and radio interviews," Thompson said. "I got busy with all of that and the signing kind of slipped up on me. My coach just told me to sign and send (Mississippi State) a picture of it, so that's what I did."
After his tremendous senior season, Thompson began attracting other suitors. College recruiters from around the country were in contact with the staff at Landry-Walker, but Thompson reports that he had no second thoughts.
"There was never any doubt about where I was going," Thompson said. "I have been locked in since I committed. I am just ready to get up there now."
Last week ended with Thompson on the Mississippi State campus in uniform. After being admitted by the University and cleared by the NCAA, Thompson was able to join the Bulldogs as they went through the St. Petersburg Bowl practice paces.
"I had been up there so many times before as a recruit, but this time was different," Thompson said. "I walked in there and I saw my name on the locker. It was just a great feeling. I got fitted for my helmet and my cleats.
"I went through practice and it was all such a great experience. It was even better than expected it to be. It is just an amazing feeling."
While the trip to Mississippi State was short and sweet, Thompson will be making the move to Starkville on January 6th. Once on campus officially, Thompson will settle into his dorm, begin classes and take the first steps towards the active roster.
"It's just really beginning to set in," Thompson admitted. "I have been so busy with everything else, that it sort of just hit me that I am about to start college. We had the state championship and Christmas was coming up, so I hadn't really thought they much about it.
"Now I am just trying to enjoy some time with my family before I go. It's been a great experience and now I am getting ready for college. It's crazy when I think about it."
As a senior, Thompson threw for 3,825 yards and 46 touchdowns to go along with 1,434 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground. Thompson led the team to 13 consecutive wins to end the season.
Thompson is currently ranked as the #23 quarterback in the country and rated as a four star prospect. The scout.com National 300 member should see a bump in the final rankings prior to National Signing Day.