High School Sports

Second half surge lifts Gautier over Ocean Springs

Gautier’s Micah Kelly
Gautier’s Micah Kelly Special to the Sun Herald

Gautier scored touchdowns on their last three possessions of the game Friday in a come-from-behind 31-21 victory overt Ocean Springs.

Socrates Meza-Ayala’s five yard run put Ocean Springs up 21-10 with 6:55 left in the third quarter.

“Nobody panicked,” said Gautier coach Chris Peterson. “We never gave up.”

Behind quarterback Kameron Kincaid and wingback Micah Kelly, the Gators offense went to work. The Gators immediately responded to the Greyhounds’ touchdown with a long drive of their own, covering 83 yards with Kincaid and Kelly gaining 82 yards on the drive and overcoming a holding penalty. Kelly capped the drive with his second touchdown on the night, scoring from nine yards out.

Following an Ocean Springs’ fourth fumble of the game, the Gators grabbed a 24-21 lead as Kincaid threw a 24 yard pass play to Daylan Ray with just under nine minutes left to play.

Magee put the Greyhounds in position to score, returning the ensuing kickoff to the Gators’ 35-yard-line. However, the Ocean Springs’ drive stalled on Gautier’s 18. The Greyhounds’ attempt to tie the game on a 35-yard field goal attempt ended in a bad snap with 6:24 left.

Behind Kelly, Gautier steadily drove the ball downfield, working the clock. Kelly carried the ball five times in the drive for 48 yards, bringing the ball to the 5 on a 13-yard run. Kincaid went the final five yards himself, diving in for the game-sealing score.

“We had to stay focused,” Kincaid said.

“I told myself we couldn’t put our heads down,” Kelly added. “I knew we could come back.”

Ocean Springs started the game strong. Khalil Levy took the opening kickoff 86 yards for the game’s opening score. After a pair of penalties forced Gautier to punt on their first possession, Ocean Springs went back to work, starting from the Gators 45. Magee finished the drive on a 15-yard run to give the Greyhounds an early 14-0 lead four minutes into the game.

Gautier, though, quickly struck back with Kelly doing the damage, running 47 yards for Gautier’s initial score, cutting the Ocean Springs lead to 14-7 with 2:35 left in the first quarter.

“It helped us to switch momentum to us,” he said. “It gave us confidence that we could come back.”

Gautier cut the Ocean Springs lead to 14-10 with 46 seconds left in the first half when Kyle Gager converted a 37 yard field goal.

Kelly finished with 182 yards on 16 carries to pace Gautier. Kincaid keyed the Gators’ option attack with 101 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries as the Gautier rushing attack rolled up 323 yards on the night. Kincaid also connected twice with Ray for 75 yards and a touchdown. Ray finished with three catches for 102 yards.

“I thought they played a very good football game,” Peterson said. “They made a lot of plays in key moments that helped us move the ball.”

Gaines finished with 91 yards on 13 carries and combined with Meza-Ayala for 131 yards on 20 carries. Magee added 60 yards on five carries.