The Panthers withstood three late Ocean Springs drives Friday night to beat the Greyhounds in overtime 31-30 in Region 4-6A play Friday night.
With the win, the Panthers remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Pascagoula (3-5, 1-3), along with Ocean Springs and St. Martin, are tied for sixth, one game behind Biloxi, D’Iberville, and Harrison Central, who are all tied for third at 2-2.
“Hope springs eternal in high school football,” said Pascagoula coach Lewis Sims after the win, noting the Panthers broke a three-game losing streak to the Greyhounds (3-5). “In high school football, you never know what is going to happen.”
Sims, though, said it was a little early to be talking about the playoffs. “For us, it’s about being 1-0 on every Friday night at 10 p.m. We have to take care of ourselves.”
After twice failing to take the lead in regulation, Ocean Springs got the ball first in overtime and, after a Pascagoula defensive holding penalty, scored on a 5 yard Daveaunce Gaines run.
Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross had watched his kicking unit fail at a game-winning 29 yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation play. And, he had watched Pascagoula runningback Dalvin Abney lead the Panthers on two 80-yard scoring drives and run for an 80-yard touchdown that put Pascagoula up 24-17 with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
“I didn’t want to get into overtime against a running game like the one (Pascagoula) has and against a runningback like (Abney),” Ross said. “I thought we would have trouble keeping him out of the endzone with only 10 yards to go.”
Ross ordered up a pass to receiver Malcom Magee off a rub play.
“It was a great call by them,” said Pascagoula coach Lewis Sims, who noted Magee was wide open on the play.
However, Blake Noblin’s pass was behind Magee. Even if Magee had caught the ball, the officials flagged Ocean Springs for offensive pass interference on the pick play designed to get Magee open.
Pascagoula came back behind Abney, who drove eight yards on the first play to the 2. From there, quarterback Jonas Burley called his number on the option and scored. Spence Colmer, who hit only 1-of-5 extra point attempts last year for the Panthers, was called on and drilled the point-after to give Pascagoula the win.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Sims said, noting this was only the Panthers’ second game on their new turf and first win.
“It’s a tough way to lose,” Ross said. “I rolled the dice. I wanted to apply pressure on (Pascagoula). Sometimes, those things don’t work out. But, I thought our players fought hard tonight.”
With the score tied at 24 each, Pascagoula looked like it was going to eat the clock up, taking the ball at their 17 with 8:55 left and driving to the Ocean Springs 42 before giving the ball up on downs with 2:13 left to play.
However, behind two Pascagoula penalties and a 23-yard pass play between Noblin and Khalil Levy, the Greyhounds quickly got the ball to the Panthers 25. A fumble, though, would give the ball back to the Panthers at the Pascagoula 20 with 1:35 left.
Two incomplete passes during the Pascagoula drive meant Ocean Springs would get the ball back after a 37 yard punt. Noblin and Levy would team up again, this time on a 26-yard pass play. A defensive holding call on a Magee route would move the ball inside the Panthers’ 20 and an offsides call would move to the 12 for the potential field goal attempt. The attempt, though, was wide right and the game went into overtime.
Behind Abney, who ran for 256 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, the Panthers moved the ball well against Ocean Springs, launching two 80 yard drives. The first covered 13 plays and was capped by a 3-yard Abney run. The second 15 plays and was capped by a 1-yard Abney dive. Abney also had an 80-yard sprint for a score in the third quarter that gave Pascagoula a 24-17 run.
Burley added 53 yards on 13 carries and Kerry Houser 40 yards on nine carries as the Panthers ran for 347 yards on the night. Jimmy Gammill added a 43-yard field goal late in the first half for Pascagoula.
Gaines led Ocean Springs with 126 yards on 27 carries, scoring on runs of 1 and 3 yards in regulation. Noblin finished 8-of-20 passing for 135 yards and an 11 yard touchdown pass to Ryson Rivers early in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 24 apiece. Levy caught four passes for 96 yards. Ashton Garner added a 37 yard field goal for the Greyhounds.