Ocean Springs has a new head football coach in place.
Greyhound administration announced earlier this week that OSHS offensive coordinator Jake Bramlett has been elevated to the top spot of the gridiron program. Bramlett replaces Blake Pennock, who left OSHS after three very successful seasons for a similar post at Gulfport High.
Bramlett expressed his delight at getting a chance to guide the Greyhounds in a tweet: “Blessed is an understatement! My family and I are beyond excited to start this journey with an amazing school district and community! Thank you all for the outpouring of support, I am forever grateful!”
Bramlett arrived in Ocean Springs along with Pennock in 2020. The two quickly discovered standout quarterback Bray Hubbard, and the trio guided the Greyhound program into uncharted territory for the program producing massive offensive numbers and the wins quickly piled up.
Ocean Springs is coming off back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons at 10-0, and the Greyhounds have won 32 games over the past three seasons which is a school record for a three-year span.
That run culminated last season with an appearance in the Class 6A South State championship game where home-standing OSHS fell in stunning fashion on the last play of the game to Brandon 34-31. The Greyhounds finished 12-1 last season.
Now, Pennock is in Gulfport and the high-flying Hubbard signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Bramlett era begins at Ocean Springs High School.
Pennock compiled a 32-5 record in those three seasons at OSHS. He replaced John Archie in Gulfport in mid-December, when Archie stepped down after five seasons at the helm of the Admirals.
Gulfport posted a stellar 9-2 regular season mark on the gridiron last season, losing only to eventual Class 5A state champion Picayune and Region 4-6A champ Ocean Springs in the process, both of which finished regular season play undefeated. Archie posted a 37-22 overall record and guided Gulfport to a pair of Region 4-6A championships and four state playoff appearances. The Admirals went just 1-4 in those postseason outings, however.
Both OSHS and Gulfport will compete in the new Region 6-7A as the Mississippi High school Association implements a seven-classification system for the first time ever next season.
Tide turns again
Speaking of Ocean Springs and 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. The Greyhounds and the Maroon Tide will face off in week five next season, marking the first meeting between the schools on the gridiron in 11 years.
In the three largest classifications, Class 7A, 6A, and 5A, there will only be six 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, and it was an arduous task for Picayune mentor Cody Stogner.
“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 was really hard, in fact. But thankfully we were able to get it done.”
Stogner recently was approached by a perennial power in a neighboring state to complete his 2023 slate, as he agreed with Catholic High out of Baton Rouge, La. The Maroon Tide and the Bears will face off on the football field for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 1st at Lee-Tiplett Stadium
Picayune’s schedule for next year looks like this:
8/25 – @ Brandon
9/1 — Catholic High (La.)
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)