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Prep football notebook: Pennock leaves OS; Tide looks ahead

September 9, 2022: Ocean Springs head coach Blake Pennock coaches his offense during the George County versus Ocean Springs game at Hugh Pepper Field in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

Ocean Springs head football coach Blake Pennock is leaving the Greyhounds for Gulfport.

The Gulfport High Athletic Department released this statement on Wednesday.

“Gulfport High School is excited to announce the 28th head football coach in school history. Blake Pennock. Pennock comes to Gulfport from Ocean Springs where he compiled a 32-5 record in 3 seasons, winning back-to-back region championships and taking the Greyhounds to an appearance in the 6A South State Championship this season. He has a career record of 40-9 in four seasons with his previous stop at Pass Christian taking the Pirates to the 2nd round of playoffs in his lone season.”

He replaces John Archie in Gulfport, who stepped down last week.

Pennock came to Pass Christian just before the 2019 season after serving as the offensive coordinator at Clinton High School. Pennock’s first coaching job was as part of Nevil Barr’s coaching staff at Oak Grove High and he then went on to work as a graduate assistant under Larry Fedora at his alma mater the University of Southern Mississippi.

A graduate of Terry High School, Pennock then returned to the prep coaching ranks at his other alma mater Terry High and then served as an assistant under Bobby Hall at Madison Central before starting in 2014 as the offensive coordinator at Clinton.

He guided the Greyhounds to back-to-back perfect 10-0 regular seasons the past two years at OSHS, but was never able to reach the state championship game. He now will take over as the head coach of one of the Greyhound’s main Region 4-6A rivals at Gulfport as both schools move into the new and first-ever Class 7A classification next season.

Schedule structure

Speaking of new classifications, Picayune head coach Cody Stogner has guided his Maroon Tide to back-to-back Class 5A state championships but Picayune won’t be in the mix to make it three straight.

That’s because, just like OSHS and Gulfport and the Jeffersons, the Maroon Tide is moving on up and will be in Class 6A next season.

In the three largest classifications, Class 7A, 6A and 5A, there will only be 6 teams per region as opposed to the previous eight teams per league as it has been for almost the past two decades. That translates to coaches having to schedule two extra non-region regular season games.

“Oh yes, it’s been much more difficult to find games without a doubt,” Stogner, who just led the Maroon Tide to its fifth state title on the gridiron overall as well as the first 15-0 season in school history.

“It’s really hard, especially when you have a hard time getting teams close by to play you. We are still short a game and it’s been a struggle to fill that spot,’ Stogner added. “We’re looking for one more home game.”

Picayune’s schedule for next year looks like this as of now:

8/25 – @ Brandon

9/1 – open

9/8 – @ D’Iberville

9/15 – @ Gulfport

9/22 – Ocean Springs

9/29 – Pearl River Central

10/6 – @ Pascagoula *

10/13 – West Harrison *

10/20 – @ Long Beach *

10/27 – @ George County *

11/2 – Hancock *

(*Denotes Region 4-6A game)

Transfer Portal

Former George County standout M.J. Daniels announced recently that he was leaving Ole Miss and transferring to Southern Mississippi. Daniels saw almost no action over the past two seasons with the Rebels, with whom he signed coming out of high school.

He hopes now to have an impact for the Golden Eagles as he moves back closer to his Lucedale roots.


Written by Curtis Rockwell

Curtis has almost three decades of experience at four different daily newspapers across South Mississippi, specializing in Sports and live Music.


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