Week one of prep football for teams in our coverage area of “The Southern Six” is in the books, and there were a few surprises along with some more traditional results when the dust settled late Friday night (or actually, early Saturday morning).
With the help of Pascagoula’s own Jimmy Buffett, here are seven things we noticed in the opening week:
- Margaritaville: With the home-standing Panther coaching staff sporting “Hawaiian” themed shirts on the sidelines, Pascagoula wasted no time in taking a quick lead and then putting away arch-rival Moss Point 23-14 in yet another edition of the “Battle of the Cats” . It was the first time the teams had faced off in three seasons, after missing the past two years because of Covid.
- It’s midnight and I’m not famous yet: George County and Gulfport didn’t kick off until after 9:30 p.m., Friday night, playing the second game of the Port City Classic at historic Milner Stadium. Those folks that stayed awake for the duration saw an exciting game though, as the home-standing Admirals overcame a halftime deficit to sail away with a 19-14 win that ended right at 12:30 a.m. Senior quarterback Jacob Palazzo threw for one score and ran for another in the win for Gulfport. Rebel running back Jacobe Street tallied a pair of scoring runs in the first half to give GCHS a 14-6 lead at intermission.
- Oysters and pearls: The annual Oyster Bowl pitting neighboring rivals Pass Christian and Long Beach took place at Lumpkin-Magee Stadium on the campus of LBHS, and the visiting Pirates raised some eye patches with their first half performance on offense. After the Bearcats scored less than a minute into the game to make it 6-0, Pass tallied 49 unanswered points to take an impressive 49-6 halftime lead and coast to a 56-20 win.
- Changes in attitude: Six new head coaches on the coast made their debut Friday night, most with wins in their first outing. Resurrection got two touchdowns and 147 yards rushing from Daniel Pickens in a 35-0 win over St. Patrick’s to begin the Eric Denmark tenure, while both Aziyon “Zach” Abraham and Kaleb Booker each ran for a pair of scores for D’Iberville as the Warriors handed Josh Ladner a 41-14 win over St. Stanislaus in his debut. St. Martin also beat visiting Stone 20-13 in Ty Smith’s first game as Yellow Jackets head coach.
- Changes in latitude: In that St. Martin win, new quarterback D.K. Jenkins, a transfer from Mendenhall, accounted for two touchdowns in his first game for the Yellow Jackets. Also, while on the same team but in a case of “I have found me a home”, new Vancleave tailback John Peterson scampered for six scores as the Bulldogs smacked Greene County 49-20. One of Peterson’s touchdown runs covered 98 yards. Also, new Hancock High starting quarterback Dylan Moran threw a pair of scoring strikes in a 35-0 win over Pearl River Central.
- It’s my Job: Ocean Springs senior standout signal-caller Bray Hubbard picked up right where he left off last year for the Greyhounds when he was named Class 6A Mr. Football. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hubbard accounted for almost 300 yards of total offense, as he completed 17 of 18 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and also ran 26 times for 118 yards and one TD to lead Ocean Springs to a 31-13 victory over Clinton at Arrow Field in Clinton. Hubbard is an Alabama Crimson Tide commit.
- Down around Biloxi: Another winning effort in his debut as a head coach came as East Central knocked off home-standing Biloxi in the Shrimp Bowl, 21-17. It marked longtime Hornet assistant coach Sam Huff’s first game as HC at his alma mater. East Central:’s Eli Smith registered a pair of scoring runs in the win as the Hornets rushed for over 200 yards and didn’t attempt a pass.
- * Honorable Mention: (I heard I was in town) Picayune’s terrific tailback Donte Dowdell, an Oregon commit, and his Maroon Tide teammates began defense of their Class 5A state championship by helping christen a renovated stadium in Poplarville with a 21-7 win over the home-standing Hornets. Dowdell produced a pair of scoring runs in the first half to help head coach Cody Stogner’s squad to a lead it would never relinquish.