25 Teams in 25 Days

25 Teams in 25 Days: Young Ocean Springs looks to build on run of success

amccoy@sunherald.com

The Ocean Springs football team has become one of the more consistent programs on the Coast in the five years that head coach Ryan Ross has been on the job.

In 2016, the Greyhounds have the task of building on that success while replacing many of the key players who helped the team to a 19-6 mark over the last two years.

“The class we graduated last year played a lot of football together,” Ross said. “I think it’s basically getting out there and getting some games under our belt. I think we’re as athletic as we’ve been, maybe more.”

One position where Ocean Springs will be more athletic this season is at quarterback, where junior Malcolm Magee takes over for Drew Windham, who started the last two years and provided stability at the position.

Magee will also see time in the secondary on defense, where he made a significant contribution last season.

“Malcolm, he’s very athletic,” Ross said. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders. I think he understands everything that’s going on.”

While Magee is more of a running threat than Windham, he’ll still be looking for senior receiver Austin Williams down field. Williams is a 6-foot-3, 210 Mississippi State commit who caught 56 passes for 928 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago.

Williams, who is one of only two starters back on offense, is confident that Magee will fit in well behind center.

“He’s a leader, always has been,” Williams said. “You can tell from his personality. He’ll let you know he’s in charge of something.”

Senior receiver Davontay Keys and senior tight end Peyton Sams will also be receiving targets for Ocean Springs this year, but Williams will be the focus of opposing defenses all season.

A pair of seniors began fall camp at the top of the depth chart at running back in Travis Pugh and Yasim Simpson. Pugh ran 37 times for 144 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Ocean Springs is replacing the production of Matthew Pleasant, who accounted for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

“We’ve got four or five guys we can kind of rotate in there in our split backfield,” Ross said. “I feel good about them. They’ve done a good job as far as learning what to do, stepping in there and hopefully being physical.”

Right tackle Thaddeus King, who stands 6-foot-3, 263 pounds, will be the leader of the offensive line as the only returning starter. Six-foot-3, 265-pound Christian Barnes will take over at the left tackle spot. Senior Andrew Lee and junior James Fahnestock will be the two guards and senior Caleb Messer is at center.

Ocean Springs is slightly more experienced on defense with four starters back – senior defensive end Blake Westbrook, senior nose tackle Caullin Lewis, senior linebacker Brandon Smith and junior defensive back Aaron Stovall.

“We’ve got a few defensive linemen back that have got some experience and played well for us,” Ross said. “The linebacker group is going to be new along with some of the secondary. The way everybody tries to throw the ball, we’ve got to get settled in there in a hurry and figure out our strengths.”

Senior defensive end Taft Dixon (6-1, 215) is the new starter on the three-man defensive line.

Jyquezz Cook-Turner, junior Isaiah Hughes and junior Brandon Walker are the new names in the linebacking corps.

Senior Eric Stovall, junior Ethan Ramsey and junior Lance Wright are the new starters in the secondary.

“Our defense has got to set the tone,” Williams said. “When they do make a stop, we’ve got to make sure to kill the clock.”

At a glance

2015 record: 8-4

Region: 4-6A

Head coach: Ryan Ross

Assistant coaches: Scott Lesley, Doug Lucas, George McKay, David Beaugez, Wade Vick, Keith Carter, Brian Holliman, Ty Smith, Derrick Jenkins and Scotty Nichols

Offense: Pro, split-back

Defense: 3-4

2016 Roster

1 Malcolm Magee

2 Max Horner

3 Alex Brechbiel

4 Cody Pierce

5 Davontay Keys

6 Khalil Levy

7 Elijah Burrus

8 Evan Bunton

9 Isaac Gowdy

10 Aaron Stovall

11 Lance Wright

12 Hogan Ross

13 Donovan Brown

14 David Carter

15 Eric Stovall

16 Travis Pugh

17 Jacob Galle

18 Austin Williams

19 Ryson Rivers

20 Brandon Walker

21 Zach Anderson

22 Cade Westbrook

23 Ethan Ramsey

24 Bailey Keeton

26 D.J. Dunning

27 Kolton Ratcliff

28 Jaion Walker

29 Brett Burton

30 Trey Dunning

31 Bryce Bizzack

32 Yasin Simpson

33 Jacob Berryhill

34 Daveaunce Gaines

35 Garrett Sizemore

36 Jyquezz Cook-Turner

37 Socrates Meza-Ayla

39 Landon Chenevert

41 Peyton Stinson

42 Drew Jones

43 Isaiah Hughes

44 Steven Nall

45 Taft Dunn

46 Blake Westbrook

47 Damien Galloway

48 Andrew Hughes

49 Peyton Sams

51 Andrew Lee

52 Jaden Smith

53 Jackson Moffett

54 James Fahnestock

55 Antonio McSwain

56 Ethan Kilpatrick

57 Amir Davis

58 Bo Dukes

59 Caullin Lewis

60 Nathan Beck

61 Thaddeus King

62 Elijah Hyde

63 Dajour Jupiter

64 Ryan Howell

65 Caleb Messer

66 Drew Fletcher

67 Isaiah Woodhouse

68 Brandon Denton

69 Alex Wall

70 Conner Sharp

71 Nathan Prine

72 Brandon Cox

73 Jonathan Neighbors

74 Gabe Johnston

76 Christian Barnes

77 Lloyd Sabino

78 Grant Ezell

80 Vincent Sanchez

81 Walker Mason

82 Ethan Page

83 Kace Reed

84 Nathan Benson

85 Caleb McClendon

86 Dakota Ellis

87 Jackson Graves

88 Brandon Smith

89 Devon Jackson

90 Jake Hammond

91 Kaylee Foster

92 Darrius Owens

93 Isaiah Simpson

94 Dylan McCullough

95 Ethan Utterback

96 Ashton Garner

97 Ethan Wall

98 Gavin Logan

99 Evan Hill

2016 schedule

Aug. 19

BRANDON

Aug. 26

At Pascagoula

Sept. 2

At Hammond, La.

Sept. 9

Open

Sept. 16

MURRAH

Sept. 23

At Hancock

Sept. 30

D’IBERVILLE

Oct. 7

At Biloxi

Oct. 14

GEORGE COUNTY

Oct. 21

At St. Martin

Oct. 28

GULFPORT

Nov. 4

HARRISON CENTRAL

Projected Starters Offense

QB Malcolm Magee

RB Travis Pugh

RB Yasim Simpson

RT Thaddeus King

LT Christian Barnes

G Andrew Lee

G James Fahnestock

C Caleb Messer

WR Austin Williams

WR Davontay Keys

TE Peyton Sams

Defense

DE Blake Westbrook

NT Caullin Lewis

DE Taft Dixon

LB Brandon Smith

LB Jyquezz Cook-Turner

LB Isaiah Hughes

LB Brandon Walker

DBAaron Stovall

DB Eric Stovall

DB Ethan Ramsey

DB Lance Wright

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