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Bearcats look to make move in Region 4-5A

The 2016 Long Beach High football team
The 2016 Long Beach High football team amccoy@sunherald.com

The Long Beach Bearcats are looking to make a move in Region 4-5A.

The Bearcats (3-9 a year ago, 2-5 in region) return nine starters on defense and a good bit of experience on the offensive line.

“The program continues to improve,’’ said Long Beach coach Forrest Williams, whose team upset region nemesis Picayune 36-34 in overtime at Picayune a year ago. “The team improved over the course of last season and notched wins over playoff teams Vancleave and Picayune.’’

Williams will be turning to two new quarterbacks this season – junior Jaidon Evans (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and freshman Cade Crosby (5-10, 175).

“We have two new quarterbacks,’’ Williams said. “Cade slinged it a lot last year. He led the middle school team to an undefeated record and won the Coast region down here. I’m excited about what he will do. Jaidon Evans has come in (from Gulfport) and been a pleasant surprise. We’ve had a great quarterback battle through (August) camp.’’

Crosby’s cousin and uncle played football for Long Beach and his father, Matt, played baseball for Long Beach and college ball at Southern Miss.

“We’re just looking to win games now,’’ Crosby said. “We’re putting in hard work and effort to turn it around. Our receivers have good hands, good speed and run good routes.’’

Evans said the team is working hard to become a contender in the region.

“I feel pretty good,’’ Evans said. “We’ve been working hard this summer and pushed ourselves as a team.’’

The offensive line consists of junior JT Tripp (6-3, 245), junior Joseph Olguin (5-10, 245), junior James Kneiss (5-11, 250), junior Bryce Warden (6-0, 245) and junior Jake Strong (5-11, 205). Tripp started in 2015.

Senior Jaylen Bankston (5-8, 180) is the starter at running back in the Spread Gun offense. The receiving corps includes senior Matthew Cropper (5-10, 165), junior Da’juan Masters (5-10, 175), junior Tony Young (6-1, 175) and senior Bishop Jones (5-10, 170). Cropper is coming off an injury-plagued junior season.

“Matthew had a rough year staying healthy,’’ Williams said. “He is a legit 4-4 kid. He has good hands. I’m excited he is back and healthy.’’

Senior linebacker Jarius Warren (6-3, 255) leads an experienced defense.

“We have big expectations for Jarius,’’ Williams said. “He’s had eight or nine Division I offers. He has a good nose for the ball and a great physical frame. We expect big things out of him to lead the defense.’’

The linebacker corps includes Warren, senior Dustin Bryant (5-9, 190), sophomore Cameron Williams (6-0, 190), junior Tyson Callahan (5-11, 195) and junior Tony Young.

Starting down linemen are senior Trevon Taylor (6-0, 235), junior Torique Bester (5-10, 245) and junior Caleb Gowens (5-10, 230).

The secondary starters are sophomore Jadarius Perkins (5-9, 155), junior Tony Pham (5-7, 150) and junior Derek Young (5-9, 165).

Williams said he had three senior kickers competing to handle extra points and field goals and “looks for more consistency’’ in the kicking game.

The Bearcats open Region 4-5A play on the road at Pascagoula on Sept. 23 and Hattiesburg on Sept. 30. It is a rare football meeting with Hattiesburg and the first since state playoffs were revived in 1981. Home region games are with Pearl River Central, Gautier, Picayune and West Harrison.

The Bearcats won two of their last three region games with Picayune and West Harrison, and Williams wants to see that momentum continue.

“We are looking for more of that this year,’’ Williams said.

At a glance

2015 record: 3-9

Region: 4-5A

Head coach: Forrest Williams

Assistant coaches: Cas Cormier, Ryan Davis, Damon Felder, Horace Fortenberry, Jed Mooney, Bob Reeves

Offense: Spread Gun

Defense: Multiple


Aug. 19 vs. Gulfport (at Biloxi)


Sept. 2 at St. Stanislaus

Sept. 9 at Vancleave

Sept. 16 at Moss Point

Sept. 23 at Pascagoula

Sept. 30 at Hattiesburg




Oct. 28 at Stone High



1 Jaylen Bankston

2 Tony Young

3 Jaidon Evans

4 Jadarius Perkins

5 Tony Pham

6 Charlies Wescovich

7 Cade Crosby

8 Matthew Cropper

9 Tim Duncan

10 Anderson Dulaney

11 Derek Young

12 Geo Fairley

13 Da’Juan Masters

14 Roderick Walker

15 Jordan Robb

16 Logan Matherne

17 Matthew Hertzog

19 Cameron Williams

20 Lonnie Sanders

21 Marcis Simmons

22 Kai VanCourt

23 JayQuawn McCall

24 Jervey Foxworth

25 Bishop Jones

26 Lawrence Tyler

27 Daer’eyawn Williams

28 Jonathan Berry

29 Cameron Wise

30 Jonathan Dedeaux

31 Jonathan Frye

32 Michael Wren

33 DeAndre Wright

34 Slade Swan

35 Shaun Brady

36 Jackson Dulaney

37 Danton Pierson

38 Dennis Andrews

40 Dustin Bryant

41 Marty Moore

42 Tyson Callahan

43 Cisco Eavenson

44 Jerunte King

45 LaBoris Gardner

46 Dillon Strahan

47 Simon Nguyen

50 Trevon Taylor

51 Andre Jefferson

52 Jarius Warren

53 Samuel Herrera

54 Andrew McMillan

55 Blake Pigage

56 Jerran Evans

57 Caleb Gowens

58 Bryce Warden

59 Jake Strong

60 Camron Matthews

61 Kenny McNutt

62 Brian Smith

63 Shea White

64 Javonte Foxworth

65 Parker Van Alstyne

66 Torique Bester

67 Joseph Olguin

68 Ismail Prudhomme

70 Jase Neale

71 James Kneiss

72 Ryan Johnson

73 JT Tripp

74 Mark Bush

75 Demarcus Andrews

76 Tramaine Thompson

77 Kole Carman

78 Martin Reeser

79 Kyle Morgan

80 Hunter Billingsley

81 Brandon Bowell

82 Kenneth Umphenour

99 Cody Crosby