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Pascagoula hopes all of Class 6A ‘knows us in November’

jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The Pascagoula football team makes the leap to Class 6A this season and it will do so with a largely unheralded roster.

The Panthers were a force in Class 5A after Lewis Sims took over the program, going 54-23 with a 2012 South State title over six seasons.

Pascagoula has been one of the more talent-laden programs on the Coast in recent years, producing players like Louisville receiver Jaylen Smith, Mississippi State defensive tackle James Jackson and Arkansas State defensive end Caleb Caston.

In 2017, there are no clear stars to point to.

“There are no big names,” Sims said. “This is the first year since I’ve been here that we have no headliner coming out, saying ‘You’ve got to watch that guy.’

“We’ve got to have a little chip on our shoulder about that. You may not know us today, but we hope you know us in November.”

In the past, Pascagoula has had teams that could have easily jumped into Region 4-6A and competed for region titles. Most expect Pascagoula to be in the middle of the pack this year while teams like D’Iberville, Gulfport and Biloxi battle for playoff seeding.

While his roster may not be loaded with FBS prospects, Sims likes the way his team is coming together during fall camp.

“We’re a blue collar team,” he said. “I really like the fact that we’re not worried so much about the individual accolades. We’re worried about what it takes for the team to be successful.”

Pascagoula will be breaking in a new quarterback this season with senior Jonas Burley and sophomore Slade Mink serving as the top two contenders. Neither player has completed a pass on the varsity level.

Burley, a point guard for the basketball team, is playing football for the first time since his freshman season while Mink served last year as the quarterback for the junior varsity squad.

“(Burley) has got a lot of leadership ability,” Sims said. “He has the ability to dish. He understands coming from basketball that as a quarterback he’s the a distributor of the ball. That mentality is really helping him out.

“Slade is a sophomore and he’s got a pretty good arm. He’s a hard working kid, a bigger kid at 6-foot, 185 pounds. He ran the system last year for the freshmen. He has a lot of intangibles as well.”

If there’s one player on offense who seems destined to have a breakout campaign this year, it’s senior running back Dalvin Abney, who ran 47 times for 193 times and three scores last season after transferring in from Moss Point.

He will have to help replace the production of Reginald Hunter and Javarous Walker, two running backs who combined to run for 2,150 yards and 21 touchdowns as seniors last season.

The speedy Abney will be backed up by a trio of sophomores – Breland Williams, Montello Kirkland and Jacoryn Walker.

Senior Adam Panni, a returning starter, should pave the way at fullback along with with junior Kerry Houser (6-0, 230).

Senior offensive tackle Ja’Lyric Molton, who stands 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, is the only returning starter on the offensive line. The other tackle will likely be sophomore Landan Northrop (6-2, 220). The two guards will be senior Jack Colmer (5-10 215) and Matt Parker (5-6, 180). Junior Elijah Salters (5-9, 245) will be the center.

The strength of the Pascagoula offense may be in its young and talented receiving corps. The Panthers’ top three receivers – Travis Watson, Charlie Myles and Tyrone Anderson – all stand 6-foot-2 and are sophomores. James Williams, a transfer from Gautier, also adds speed at receiver.

Senior Randall Moss, who stands 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, will get some chances at tight end.

Defense

Pascagoula returns more experience on the defensive side of the ball, including senior linebacker Landon Gordon, who had 99 tackles last season. He will be joined at linebacker by junior Brantley Torjusen, Walker and junior Jimmy Gammill.

Senior defensive end Jaeden Ridgeway (6-3, 250) should lead the Panthers up front after making 54 tackles last season. Junior Jarid Johnson (6-1, 250) and senior Scott White (6-4, 210) are also looking for snaps at defensive end. Jjunior Jonathan Buie (5-6, 220) and junior Fisher Guy (6-1, 231) will work at defensive tackle.

Senior free safety Leterrance Addison is the top returner in the secondary after making 30 tackles and leading the team with four interceptions last year. Two other players in the hunt for playing time at safety are junior Seth Alexander and senior Jamarious Butler.

Senior Isiah Jackson and sophomore Nick Jones will likely be the top two corners.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

Pascagoula schedule

Aug. 18: at Moss Point

Aug. 25: at Gulf Breeze

Sept. 1: at Picayune

Sept. 8: Gautier

Sept. 22: at Harrison Central

Sept. 29: Gulfport

Oct. 6: at D'Iberville

Oct. 13: Ocean Springs

Oct. 20: at Biloxi

Oct. 27: St. Martin

Nov. 3: Hancock

Pascagoula roster

2 Travis Watson

3 Charlie Myles

4 Landyn Gordon

5 Jamarius Butler

6 Jaeden Ridgeway

7 Dalvin "Trey" Abney

8 Isiah Jackson

9 Jonas Burley

10 Brantley Torjusen

11 Warren Garry

13 Leo Mendez

14 Kaleb Reed Clayton

15 Tyrone Jackson

16 Brandon Newbill

17 Taylor Williams

18 Jarid Johnson

19 Slade Mink

20 Jacoryn Walker

21 James Williams

22 Leterrance Addison

24 Adam Panni

25 Anthony Stewart

26 Jack Corlew

27 Jaquaise Biggs

28 Kartavius Lofton

29 Joe Biggs

30 Abe Daggett

31 Jerry Magee

32 Kayvon Barnes

33 Jaheim Addison

34 Lazarius Harrell

35 Karon Leverette

36 Seth Alexander

37 Montello Kirkland

38 Kenneth Bardwell

39 Kerry Houser

40 Connor McLeod

41 Liston Long

42 Dylen Houser

43 Keonta Steward

44 Jimmy Gammill

45 Nick Jones

47 Spence Colmer

48 Breland Williams

49 Andrew Bond

50 K'Darius Grant

51 Hayden Bennett

52 Ethan Wall

53 Michael Scott

54 Alex Wall

55 Jalyric Molten

56 Jack Colmer

57 Landon Northrop

58 Jonathan Buie

59 Robert Knox

60 Jamario Todd

61 Jack Harrison

62 Jacob Black

63 Corey Wallace

64 Matt Parker

65 Hunter Lee

66 Kendrew Robinson

67 Carlos Colon

68 Reginald Barnes

69 Chris Griffin

70 Jaquez Geater

71 Tommy Eiland

72 Tamaj Fairley

73 Olajahwon Harris

74 Elijah Salters

75 Eric Bellamy

76 Fisher Guy

77 Corey Pierce

78 Daniel Goode

79 Kencala Walker

83 Chanton Millender

85 Randall Moss

87 Terrance Jackson

88 Scotty White

89 Demond Lawrence

93 Wyatt Allen

94 Zion Clausell

95 Rodriguez Davis

97 Kenneth Fairley

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