Blake Noblin threw three touchdown passes before turning the game over late to Daveaunce Gaines as Ocean Springs held on to down Biloxi 26-21 in a Region 4-6A battle.
With the win, the Greyhounds (3-4, 1-2) stay in the playoff hunt, a game behind a four-team pack in second, a pack that includes Biloxi (2-5). Gulfport, perfect after three Region games, is alone at the top of Region 4-6A.
“We needed this win,” said Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross. “We needed to find a way to get a win.”
Behind Noblin, who threw touchdown passes of 40 yards to Darien Wallace and 9 yards to Khalil Levy as the Greyhounds built a 19-7 lead with 8:25 left in the game, and Gaines, who finished with 117 yards rushing on 27 carries, Ocean Springs answered each Biloxi attempt to get the lead late in the game.
With just under two minutes left to go in the third quarter, Kenyatta Harrell scored from 3 yards out to cap a 15-play, 80-yard drive that cut the Greyhounds lead to five, 19-14, with just under two minutes left in the third quarter.
Ocean Springs, though, would immediately respond as Noblin ran twice for 20 yards before hitting Wallace for a 10-yard touchdown play, his third passing score on the night and the second to Wallace, to push the lead back to two scores, 26-14, with just under 11 minutes to go in the game.
The Indians, however, came right back, taking just three-and-a-half minutes to drive 58 yards on 10 plays to cut the lead back to five, 26-21, as Kamron Suddeth scored from 3 yards out.
The Indians, though, would not get the ball again as Ocean Springs turned the game over to Gaines, who carried the ball eight times for 36 yards in the final eight minutes as the Greyhounds ran the clock out. Two defensive penalties — a holding call on third and five near midfield and a personal foul face mask following a 3 yard run on third-and-two — helped Ocean Springs keep the ball and run the clock out.
“We couldn’t make the plays to get off the field,” said Biloxi coach Bobby Hall. “But, hats off to Ocean Springs. They made the plays to win the game.”
“When we are executing the way we should, we look like that,” Ryan said of the Greyhounds’ final drive from their 20 to just outside the Indians’ 5 to end the game. “(Gaines) is our workhorse. He takes care of the ball and makes the tough yards for us.”
While Ocean Springs controlled the second half through Gaines’ running, it was an opportunistic defense that kept Biloxi off the scoreboard in the first half.
“We made some plays and were able to get off the field,” Ryan said. “I thought our defense was key tonight.”
Biloxi took the opening kickoff and, behind Harrell, quickly drove the ball to the Greyhounds 32. However, behind four incomplete passes, Ocean Springs took over on downs. The Greyhounds quickly pushed the ball back downfield, with Noblin completing the drive hitting an wide-open Wallace about 10 yards downfield and Wallace doing the rest for a 40-yard pass and run touchdown giving Ocean Springs the early 7-0 lead.
The Indians immediately came back to tie the score as Suddeth completed 4-of-6 passing to take Biloxi from their 20 before connecting on a 7 yard scoring toss to Mondre Stewart to tie the game with just over two minutes left in the opening quarter. However, the rest of the first half would be frustrating for Biloxi.
A Mitchell Bowie interception inside the Greyhounds 15 ended one drive in the shadow the goalposts. Bowie would snag a second pick in the third quarter to set up an 11-yard Gaines run that gave Ocean Springs a 19-7 lead.
The Indians final drive of the half ended with a 14 yard punt that gave Ocean Springs good field position on the Biloxi 32. A bad snap resulted in Ocean Springs not getting points on a field goal attempt as the first half ended.
Noblin finished 10-of-18 for 158 yards, rushing for 56 additional yards to lead Ocean Springs. Three of his passes went to Wallace for 79 yards and two scores and three went to Levy for 62 yards and a touchdown.
“He took care of the football,” Ryan said. “He wasn’t forcing things and made good reads running the ball.”
Bowie added 14 stops to his two picks.
Suddeth was 14-of-25 for 193 yards and a score. However, he threw three interceptions on the night. Stewart caught eight passes for 95 yards and Jervin Smith added five catches for 74 yards. Harrell finished with 81 yards on 20 carries.