GULFPORT -- Gulfport Admirals quarterback Cleveland Ford connected with Alton Conerly on a 59-yard touchdown strike on the second play of the game, and the Admirals never looked back, cruising to a 42-21 victory over the Hancock Hawks at Milner Stadium.
"The kids practiced hard all week and played hard tonight," said Eddie Pierce, Admirals head coach. "We're 3-0 in the region. That's what we set out to do, but we know we have to keep working and grinding and get ready for Harrison Central next week.
Gulfport used a string of big offensive plays Friday evening to build a 35-0 lead over the Hawks.
Ford connected with Conerly again on a 65-yard touchdown strike later in the first quarter to give Gulfport a 14-0 lead.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
Deon Cole then got into the act, scoring on a five-yard run a few plays after a botched Hawk punt.
Larozzo Shugart scored on a 79-yard run on the Admirals next drive and Cole capped a dominant first half with a 78-yard fake punt run for a touchdown.
Cole led the Admirals' rushing attack with 171 yards on ten carries. Shugart added 140 yards on 9 rushes.
Ford completed four of seven passes for 133 yards and two scores.
The Hawks lone bright spot in the first half was senior Clay Ladner.
Ladner collected a sack to stop one Admiral drive and nabbed his first interception to stop another.
Hancock got on the board in the third quarter when Michael Scardino scored on a 30-yard run to cap an eight-play, 69-yard drive.
Scardino ran for 152 yards on 22 carries.
Cole added a 55-yard run for his third score of the game in the third quarter, and Pierce then substituted liberally the remainder of the game.
Hancock continued to play hard, scoring twice in the final stanza to make the game more respectable.
Aaron Feazelle connected with Landon Jordan on a 57-yard touchdown pass at the 6:37 mark of the fourth quarter to cap a five-play, 73-yard drive.
Feazelle also connected with sophomore Chase McDonald on a seven-yard touchdown pass in the final minute.
The score was McDonald's first in his career.
Feazelle completed 21 of 36 passes on the evening for 205 yards and two scores.
"We got off to a bad start, but we did some good things in the second half," said Rocky Gaudin, Hawks head coach. "We just got to keep working, it's all we know how to do."