Three big plays in the first half sent the Pascagoula football team on its way to an 24-6 victory over Moss Point Friday night at Jerry Alexander Stadium.
The win served as a bit of redemption for Pascagoula after falling on its home field to Moss Point a year ago, ending a five-winning winning streak by the Panthers against their main rival.
Friday night's performance was also a major turnaround for the Panthers after being thumped 23-0 by East Central in a jamboree last week. Sims took some flack on social media last week for being openly critical of himself and his team following the scrimmage at Hurley
"It's amazing what focus does," Sims said. "It's amazing with young people taking criticism and going forward with it and listening to their coaches and giving 100 percent effort every day in practice can do for a team. We were a totally different team in one week."
Pascagoula senior running back Dalvin Abney received the game ball for his performance of 25 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Leterrance Addison started the game off with a 76-yard kickoff return, setting up a 9-yard touchdown run by Abney to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game.
The next man to find the end zone was Pascagoula's Breland Williams, who scooped up a Moss Point fumble near midfield and scampered the rest of the way for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 2:39 left in the first half.
Abney's most impressive play of the game came on the final play of the first half when he took the handoff and ran 64 yards for a touchdown as time ran off the clock, giving the Panthers a 21-0 lead at the half.
"The play was 'Peter,'" Abney said. "I went to the left, seen the cutback lane. I hit it hard and couldn't nobody catch me on the sideline."
Abney is sure to see plenty of carries for the Panthers the rest of the way.
"What I can say about Dalvin Abney is he doesn't take criticism and cry. He takes criticism and works," Sims said. "That's what I'm most proud of."
Moss Point's lone score of the night came on a 9-yard toss from freshman quarterback Ruben Lee to Lashaun Coleman with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
Kobie Ruffin was the star on defense for the Tigers, pulling in a pair of interceptions.
"In the first half, we didn't take care of the ball and they took advantage of our mistakes," Moss Point coach Eugene Harmon said. "That's what you're afraid of in these first games. Overall, I think we played good in the second half. I was real proud of the way the guys came back and fought in the second half."
Pascagoula sophomore defensive back Jaheim Addison also caught a pair of interceptions.
Spence Colmer capped off the scoring for Pascagoula in the fourth quarter with a 27-yard field goal.
Pascagoula (1-0) will travel to Gulf Breeze, Fla., next week while Moss Point (0-1) go to rival Gautier.