BILOXI — Gulfport senior running back Deon Cole galloped for 177 yards on 19 carries and the Admirals recovered four Biloxi fumbles as Gulfport rolled to a 27-0 victory over archrival Biloxi on Friday at Biloxi Stadium.
It was the fourth straight win in the series for Gulfport (9-2 overall, 7-0 in Region 4-6A) and the first Admiral shutout of Biloxi since 2009. The Admirals have won 27 of the last 32 games since 1984 in the longtime rivalry.
Biloxi finished up at 3-8 overall and 0-7 in region.
“It was a great game,’’ Cole said. “It’s good to go into the playoffs on a good note. Now we want to get ready for next week.
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“This team came together. There are no individuals. We play for each other. We feed off that and make big plays.’’
Gulfport, the 4-6A champion, hosts Meridian (the 4 seed from 3-6A) in the opening round of the 6A state playoffs next Friday.
Cole’s 10-yard TD run on Gulfport’s opening 59-yard drive put the Admirals up 7-0.
Biloxi then drove to the Admirals 14 on the passing of Trey Shaffer to Tim Jones. However, Jones was dislodged from the ball at the Gulfport 1 after catching a pass from Shaffer, and Princeton Fells returned the fumble to the Biloxi 9. Cain Suddith then kicked a 31-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Cleveland Ford tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Sean Daniels for a 17-0 lead with 9:50 left before halftime.
Biloxi had another opportunity to get back in the game after a poor Gulfport punt to the Admiral 44. But Biloxi lost a fumble again on the ensueing play, and Gulfport promptly drove 57 yards, with Cole scoring on a 12-yard run with 4 seconds left before halftime.
Cole heads into the playoffs with 1,578 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Suddith rounded out the scoring with a 37-yard field goal with 10:05 left in the game
Gulfport’s defense held Biloxi to a minus-1 yards rushing. Tim Jones had 7 catches for 119 yards.
Biloxi had a pair of interceptions from Tyler Price and C.J. Bridges.
“Our defense has played solid all year,’’ Gulfport coach Eddie Pierce said. “Our running game has been good to us. You have Deon Cole and (Larozzo) Shugart. Our offensive line just got better and better each game. I can’t say enough about our kids and coaching staff.’’
The first Biloxi turnover in the red zone set the tone.
“They got down there ready to score,” Pierce said. “I couldn’t see what happened from where I was standing but then I see Princeton Fells running up the field. We’ve been able to create turnovers all year. I think we can go as far as these kids want to go.”