Pascagoula football coach Lewis Sims has offered an apology to the Ocean Springs football team for his captains' failure to shake hands at the coin toss prior to Friday night's game.
The players made the choice not to do the traditional handshake, angering some Ocean Springs players and fans. Sims wasn't aware that the players hadn't done the handshake until after the game.
Pascagoula won the game 21-17 by putting up 21 unanswered points in the second half.
This is the letter of apology from Sims:
Dear coach (Ryan) Ross and the Ocean Springs football team,
We, the coaching staff and captains of the Pascagoula Panther football team, would like to extend our most sincere apology for our failure to shake hands during the coin toss prior to our game this past Friday night in Ocean Springs.
We make no excuses for our actions and accept full responsibility for our reprehensible lack of sportsmanship at that juncture of the contest.
In no way was this an attempt to signal any known or unknown hostility towards your team, fans, or school. If we had the ability to turn back the hands of time, we would surely reciprocate the offer of a handshake in acknowledgement of the expectation of a hard-fought contest fraught with excitement.
Our respect and fear of the program you have established over the past ten years propelled our team leaders to abandon our core values upon which our program is grounded and ultimately led us to make a poor decision in regard to the standard procedure for the long standing ritual of the pre-game coin toss. Your subsequent domination of our team during the first half should be a harbinger of any such antics that do nothing but motivate the offended team to achieve at an even higher level.
Please accept this apology and let this serve as an example to all teams as a lesson in preserving the greatest part of this game - sportsmanship. We would also like to thank you for the hospitality shown to our team, our fans, our band, and our cheerleaders.
Best of luck to you and your team the rest of your season.
Sincerely, Lewis Sims and the Pascagoula Panther football team