Several local teams look to remain unbeaten in region play this week, while others are still in search of that elusive first league win and still others in search of their first win overall.
Some key league games are on tap in several different classifications across our coverage area Friday night, contests that could have a vital impact on league races in Class 4A, 5A and 6A are all on tap Friday night.
Here are 7 games in the “Southern 6” to keep an eye on this week:
- Gautier at Vancleave (Game of the Week) — For the second time in three weeks a big Region 4-5A showdown takes place in Vancleave, as the Gators come calling on the home-standing Bulldogs. Gautier is currently in a two-way tie for first place in the league standings at 3-0 with unbeaten Picayune, and VHS bounced back from its loss to that Maroon Tide squad two weeks ago by scampering past win-less George County 29-22 last Friday night. The Bulldogs and East Central sit knotted up in the second spot both at 2-1, as both lost to the Picayune machine. Both teams stand 5-1 on the season, and this is the 21st all-time meeting between these two county rivals. Gautier has pretty much dominated it overall (16-4), as well as of late (won eight straight). In fact, the last VHS win over GHS came in 2010, which is also the last time the Bulldogs were off to this successful of a start.
- West Harrison at Picayune — Defending Class 5A state champion Picayune remained unbeaten and won its 18th consecutive game Friday night in a battle of unbeatens in Region 4-5A as the Maroon Tide out-slugged visiting East Central 28-10. The 18 straight wins is a new Picayune school record in football, and the Maroon Tide sits 7-0 overall this season. West Harrison is coming off a 48-19 thumping at the hands of Gautier, and it doesn’t seem likely to get much better for the Hurricanes this week as they blow into Lee-Triplett Stadium. WHHS is actually off to one of its best starts in program history, as they sit 1-2 in league play but 4-2 overall. Picayune got 165 yards rushing and two scoring runs from backup quarterback sophomore Darrell Smith in the win over ECHS. This is the 10th all-time meeting between the Maroon Tide and WHHS, and as one might imagine it’s been a completely one-sided affair with Picayune winning all nine games so far.
- Pascagoula at Ocean Springs — The Panthers head west down Highway 90 to face the home-standing Greyhounds as OSHS celebrates Homecoming this week. Actually, the Greyhounds have had a lot to celebrate lately rolling to a 6-0 record so far and in the process posting their 16th consecutive regular-season win by bouncing by Biloxi 48-28 last Thursday night in Region 4-6A play. Meanwhile, the Panthers are still in search of their first league win after three weeks, and Greyhound Stadium doesn’t necessarily look like the optimal venue to find it these days as OSHS is averaging almost 39 points per game offensively while allowing just nine ppg on defense. Plus, OSHS has scored 40 or more points in all three region wins so far. Then again, PHS can’ maybe take some solace in the fact that last week the 28 points OSHS gave up to Biloxi was by far the most they’ve given up this year, and ‘Goula has averaged 30 ppg in its three region losses.
- Harrison Central at Gulfport — The Admirals and the aforementioned Greyhounds are tied for the top spot in Region 4-6A at 3-0, but the Red Rebels come to historic Milner Stadium this week looking to remain in the region race as well. HCHS stands just 3-3 overall, but more importantly 2-1 in league play after quarterback Christian Turner threw for right at 160 yards and one touchdown and he also ran for two touchdowns in the Red Rebels’ 28-14 win over St. Martin. Gulfport travels to Ocean Springs in just over two weeks. Gulfport has won 10 of the last 12 games in this long-running series.
- Greene County at Moss Point — Two teams that can ill afford another loss for different reasons face off on Dantzler Street as the Wildcats face the home-standing Tigers in Region 8-4A action. For GCHS, it’s coming off a 26-14 loss to league-leading Stone last week, and those same Tomcats bounced MPHS the week before 45-18 so the Wildcats are in desperate need of another league win this week against the win-less Tigers. For MPHS, any loss is damaging in many ways this late in the season, as the Tigers sit at 0-7 in a season for just the third time in the past 70 years. Moss Point has just one more game left after this one to try and avoid its first no-win/no-tie season since 1952. This is just the 10th all-time meeting between the teams, and GCHS holds a slim 5-4 advantage. Stone is off this week.
- Pass Christian at Bay High — The Pirates are off to their best start in four seasons and head to McCullough Stadium in Harrison County looking to catch Stone in the Region 8-4A race. The Pirates are coming off a thrilling 21-20 win over visiting Moss Point last week, and sit 1-0 in league play while the Tigers are coming off an open date and are 0-1 in the loop. Pirates quarterback Ladd Scriber went 12-of-22 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns in the Pirates win over MPHS, and Trey Patton had four catches for 130 yards with a score. This rivalry is one of the longest-standing all-time on the gridiron in South Mississippi, as this game marks the 70th all-time contest between the two teams. Bay has a 41-26 advantage.
- Richton at Resurrection — A key mid-season match-up in Region 4-1A play takes place this week, as the Rebels face the Eagles. Although both RCS and RHS stand just 1-2 in league play, it appears at this point that both of these teams are in prime position to take the fourth and final playoff spot in the region race. The winner of this game obviously takes a big step in that direction and will possess the head-to-head tie-breaker when all is said and done, which could be quite important as well. This is just the fifth meeting all-time between the teams, and the series is tied at 2-2.