Friday night will stick with both St. Martin and Ocean Springs for a long, long time — for very different reasons.
The Greyhounds entered the night riding a three-game losing skid in Region 4-6A, while the Yellow Jackets were hoping to earn their first win over OSHS since 2003.
As it turns out, a shoving match may have ultimately swung the rivalry game as Ocean Springs earned a hard-fought 21-20 win at Joe Barlow Stadium.
Ocean Springs (5-4, 2-3) trailed 14-6 for much of the game until the 3:03 mark in the third quarter.
St. Martin lineman Norde White and Ocean Springs starting quarterback Malcolm Magee began pushing one another after an incompletion on a big third down deep in the Hounds’ territory.
Both players were ejected as a result, but OSHS seemed to rally around the call.
The Greyhounds initially punted the ball away, but their defense held strong, got the ball right back and pieced together a quick 63-yard touchdown drive. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Galle hit senior receiver Austin Williams on the right side and the Mississippi State commit raced 54 yards to set up an 8-yard touchdown. A 2-point conversion tied the game 14-14.
After getting another defensive stop and a long punt return from Davontay Keys, OSHS took the lead on a 7-yard toss from Galle to Williams with 5:50 remaining. Williams beat his defender on the left side and ran under the throw for the first of Galle’s touchdowns. On the second, Williams had to dive past Kalem Reddix for an acrobatic score.
“I really thought we had the momentum and were fixing to really trend in our favor,” St. Martin coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead said. “But we have that (fight), both sides get fired up and they ended up finishing it up better than we did.
“We just got outplayed and outcoached.”
St. Martin (6-4, 3-2) didn’t go quietly, however. The Yellow Jackets marched down the field and scored on a 4-yard run by quarterback Wayne Overman III.
After initially trying to draw Ocean Springs offside on the PAT attempt, the Yellow Jackets opted to go for the lead on a two-point conversion. Overman rolled to his left and tried to thread a pass to an open receiver over the middle but the ball was knocked to the turf by a lineman. Following the kickoff, the Greyhounds ran out the remainder of the clock to secure the one-point victory.
“Last year, we drew them offsides on a similar play. Isaac (Williams) is our holder and he was hurt, so for our guy to take his first snap of the whole year in that situation...,” Whitehead said. “That’s not the only reason I went for it. I’m a gambler. I probably would have went for it anyway, but we were trying to cut it down to 1½ (yards) and would have called a different play.
“We still felt like we had a good play call and they made a great play.”
‘All I Do Is Win’
After running out the clock, the Greyhounds scaled the visiting bleachers to their band playing DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.”
Not only did the win keep their advantage in the rivalry and snap Ocean Springs’ region skid, it also kept the Greyhounds’ playoff hopes alive, even if ever so slightly in a congested region.
“I just think it shows how much heart this team has and how bad we want to be here,” said Williams, who finished with five receptions for 103 yards and three touchdowns. “This is everything. St. Martin is our rival. We love this game every year and look forward to it. This is awesome.”
After Friday night, D’Iberville leads the region at 4-1, while George County, Biloxi, and St. Martin are all 3-2. The Greyhounds are tied with Harrison Central and Gulfport at 2-3 with games against both those teams remaining.
“I don’t even know, to be honest with you,” said OSHS coach Ryan Ross when asked about his team’s playoff picture. “We have had a rough last three weeks. We’re just trying to worry about day to day, not week to week.”
St. Martin opened the scoring with a 28-yard pass over the middle from Overman to Quan Walley.
After Magee and Williams connected for a 19-yard score early in the second quarter, Overman put the Jackets back ahead with a 6-yard run at the 5:44 mark of the second quarter.
Overman finished the game with 205 yards passing on 21 of 33 completions. He also rushed for 71 yards. Reddix was held to 10 receptions and 50 yards.