Long Beach scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-7 lead, and they coasted for a 37-7 win over Bay High in Bay St. Louis on Friday.
After a near interception on the first play from scrimmage, the Bearcats (2-0) seemed to have their way with the Tigers, pounding them at the line of scrimmage with solid running by Dennis Andrews and Gerald Jones Jr. and Cade Crosby quarterback keepers. Then Crosby would mix it up, hitting wide open receivers five yards past the line of scrimmage.
On their opening possession, Andrews had runs of 5, 6 and 4 yards and Crosby had two 9-yard keepers before he went to the passing game, completing three straight — a 10-yarder to Logan Matherne, a 10-yarder to Charlie Wescovich and a 9-yarder to Jaidon Evans for the first touchdown.
The Tigers (0-3) ended up with good field position at midfield on their first possession. Jaylen Wilson picked up nine yards on first down and 6 on second down for the first down, but their possession would end on the game’s first turnover as the Tigers would fumble the ball back to the Bearcats.
Andrews went to work again for the Bearcats starting the possession with runs of 10 yards and 8 yards, and Crosby would convert a fourth down with a four-yard carry. Andrews would carry two more times on the possession, the first a 9-yarder and the second a 13-yarder for the touchdown.
The Tigers would answer with an 8-play drive that started with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter as Sam Sheppard returned the kickoff 30 yards to the Bearcats 40 yard line. On first down Sheppard broke into the secondary for a 20-yard carry and he would cap the drive with a 13-yard carry for the Tigers’ only score of the night.
“I thought our line and our backs did a great job,” said Bearcats coach Forrest Williams. “Our quarterback made some great reads. We got into a groove running the ball, so we had to work the passing game, because that’s where we’ve got to get better.
“We weren’t as good in the passing game as we’d want, but our growth as a team is going to be how we’re going to be able to handle a lot of pressure,” said Williams. “Bay was doing a good job of getting pressure on us. We’ve got to be able to bounce and adjust to that. We’re just glad to be 2-0.”
Bay seemed to miss out on opportunities as they were haunted with penalties at key points of the game. On their opening possession of the second half, down 21-7, the Tigers appeared to be driving as Wilson’s 13-yard carry gave them excellent field position at the Bearcats’ 17 yard line. He picked another 7 yards on first down, but a chop block nullified the gain. So instead of facing a second-and-three at the 10 yard line, they faced a first-and-26, 33 yards away from the goal line. And they would not get any closer the remainder of the game.
“That’s been the story this whole year,” said Tigers coach Ben Foreman. “We get something going and then we have a penalty that backs us up. We can’t recover from it. We’ve got to be resilient.
“Coach Williams has got a good program going on over there. They are big. They’re a very senior-laiden team, where we’re a lot of sophomores with a few seniors sprinkled in. We did play with them, and we know that we can. We’ve just got to be resilient and fight through adversity.”
The Bearcats scored on a 6-yard Kobe Cook carry midway in the third quarter and a 4-yard Jones’ carry in the fourth quarter. The Bearcats were awarded a safety on a mishandled punt snap that ended up going through the endzone.
Andrews led the Bearcats rushing attack with 100 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Jones added 96 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Wilson led the Tigers with 97 yards on 19 carries.