Greene County preserved its flawless record with another tough defensive performance in a 14-7 victory at Moss Point Friday night.
The Wildcats improved to 6-0 and will now prepare to face another undefeated team, Poplarville, to begin the Region 7-4A schedule on Sept. 29. The winner of the game, which takes place in Poplarville, will be in prime position to earn the No. 1 seed in the region.
The hill seems pretty steep for Greene County considering it lost 60-13 to the Hornets a year ago, but this is an entirely different bunch of Wildcats.
“That's the past,” Greene County senior athlete Tagg Creech said. “It's a new season. They're good, we're good. Whoever wants it more.”
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First-year Greene County head coach Michael King has had his team tuned in all season, but he knows the biggest challenge yet awaits.
“They're defending 4A runners up. Poplarville earned the right to be considered one of the better teams in 4A football,” King said. “Until somebody comes along to displace them or take them down they've earned that. In the back of our minds, we've been looking at these first two division games. It's pretty tough on the front end. Hopefully, we'll have a good week of practice and come out ready to give a great effort again.”
Greene County has been as consistent as any team in South Mississippi through the early going, continuing a remarkable turnaround under King, a former George County assistant. The Wildcats have already cleared the win total from last season's 4-7 campaign.
Creech, who battled through a shoulder injury in the second half, was all over the field for the Wildcats Friday night. He ran 15 times for 71 yards, caught a 15-yard touchdown toss, pulled in an interception late and recovered an onside kick to close out the victory on the road.
Creech also handled punting duties for the Wildcats.
“Tagg's our guy,” Greene County quarterback Derrick Grice said. “He's like a maintenance man. He's everywhere.”
Grice put in an impressive dual-threat performance for the Wildcats and had a hand in both of the Wildcats' scores. He punched it in the end zone from 1 yard out to to take a 6-0 lead with 5:42 left before the half.
A pass interference call on Moss Point helped set up Grice for a 15-yard touchdown toss to Creech with 10 seconds left in the first half, giving the Wildcats a 13-0 lead at the half.
Moss Point kept itself in the game by playing strong defense. The Tigers (1-5) finally found the end zone with about a minute to go when Tytus Miles scored from 7 yards out to cut the Greene County lead to 13-7.
Greene County recovered the following onside kick and ran the final seconds off the clock.
Myles ran the ball 12 times for 100 yards and a score.
“We ran the ball pretty good tonight, but we've got to get the passing game corrected,” Moss Point coach Eugene Harmon said. “We had too many dropped passes. If we catch five of those passes, you never know what would have happened.
“The defense came out in the second half and played an excellent game. I'm very proud of the defense. We had some starters out during this game so we had to play some younger guys. They came in and stepped up.”
Moss Point will travel to East Central to open region play this Friday.