The opening of region play across the state of Mississippi on Friday didn’t disappoint.
With classifications 1A, 5A and 6A all opening inter-divisional competition, there were plenty of eye-opening results and finishes Friday, to say the least.
Several of the games went down to the final minute, including Biloxi’s 26-23 win over then-No. 7 D’Iberville. It took overtime, but Harrison Central had one of the more memorable finishes of the season, turning a busted hold on a PAT into a game-winning two-point play.
After Pascagoula scored on its first overtime possession but missed the PAT, Harrison Central’s Keon Moore had to work for his 1-yard score on fourth down.
“I knew I was in because before my knees touched I already had the ball in the end zone on the ground,” he said. “I was just waiting for the touchdown (signal).”
And then there was previously unranked Gulfport, which had big questions after a 1-3 start. With quarterback T.Q. Newsome back calling the shots, however, the Admirals raced past No. 8 St. Martin 30-7.
“Our kids came out and played great,” GHS coach Eddie Pierce said. “The open date helped us get better and we had a great week of practice. I’m proud of the whole team.”
No. 6 Hancock also had to dig deep to come away with a 28-20 win over Ocean Springs.
“We knew we had to finish strong,” Hawks coach Neil Lollar said. “The first half was not who we were. We challenged them at halftime and they responded.”
Even in Class 5A, where the higher-ranked teams won, there were plenty of interesting results.
Friday’s results boosted Gulfport, Harrison Central and St. Stanislaus back into the Sun Herald’s rankings. SSC sneaks into the Top 10 despite narrowly falling to ranked MAIS foe Madison-Ridgeland Academy 31-28.
Pascagoula, Ocean Springs and D’Iberville all feel from the land of the ranked.
This week won’t be any easier to pick with all classifications now in their respective region schedules.
No. 8 St. Martin at No. 6 Hancock will be the lone meeting between ranked opponents. Other ranked teams in action are No. 7 Gulfport at Pascagoula, No. 9 Harrison Central at Biloxi, No. 4 Stone at Hattiesburg, No. 5 Long Beach at Gautier, No. 2 Picayune hosting West Harrison, Vancleave at No. 10 St. Stanislaus, No. 3 East Central hosting Moss Point and Greene County visiting No. 1 Poplarville.
Sun Herald Top 10
1. Poplarville (30)
2. Picayune (27)
3. East Central (24)
4. Stone (21)
5. Long Beach (17)
6. Hancock (16)
7. Gulfport (12)
8. St. Martin (6)
9. Harrison Central (5)
10. St. Stanislaus (3)
Dropped out: D’Iberville (0; 1-4; 7)
Receiving votes: Resurrection (1; 2-4; NR), Ocean Springs (2; 2-3, T9), Pascagoula (2-3, T9)