The St. Martin football team is one win away from clinching its first playoff bid since 2003.
St. Martin's running back-quarterback duo of Ham McGee and Landon Pankonin proved too much for the Pascagoula Panthers to keep up with Friday night. The two players combined for 284 yards rushing and three touchdowns as St. Martin pulled away for a 28-10 victory.
McGee ran 18 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way for the Yellow Jackets. Pankonin added nine carries for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets have won three consecutive games with Pankonin starting all three.
“He's been big the last couple of weeks with over 100 yards rushing,” St. Martin coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead said. “He's done a great job. He's just a competitor. He's tough.”
St. Martin will host D'Iberville in the regular season finale next week in a game that has plenty on the line for the postseason.
St. Martin (6-4, 3-3) enters the final week of the regular season in a three-way tie for third place in Region 4-6A along with Biloxi (3-7, 3-3) and D'Iberville (4-6, 3-3).
If St. Martin beats D'Iberville, it will finish as the No. 3 seed in 4-6A and land a first-round playoff game on the round.
If St. Martin loses to D'Iberville, it can get still get in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed if Region 4-6A champion Gulfport beats Biloxi.
If St. Martin lands in the postseason, it will be the first time for the Yellow Jackets since 2003.
“It would be the first time in years if we make the playoffs,” McGee said. “We're hoping everything goes right and we win out.”
Pascagoula (3-7, 1-5) has been eliminated from postseason contention.
“They've never experienced this on the high school level here. It's tough,” Pascagoula coach Lewis said. “The resiliency comes from showing up every day, doing the little things right every day and getting better every single day.”
Pascagoula senior running back Trey Abney finished with 28 carries for 155 yards.
The Panthers did manage to get in the end zone with 3:54 let in the first half on an 18-yard touchdown toss from Slade Mink to Charlie Myles.
After the game was tied 7-7 at the half, St. Martin outscored Pascagoula 21-3 in the final two quarters.
“We came back out at halftime with it 7-7,” McGee said. “We tried to come out there and just play our game.
“Landon has been real good at quarterback, especially in the ground game. The passing game, we've got to work on it some more. But the ground game, it's there.”
Pankonin scored first for St. Martin on a 7-yard run at the 8:00 mark of the second quarter to make it 7-0.
McGee put the Yellow Jackets back in the lead on a 10-yard touchdown run with 7:23 left in the third quarter, making it 14-7.
Pascagoula's Jimmy Gammill kicked a 41-yard field goal to cut the St. Martin lead to 14-10 with 1:33 left, but the Yellow Jackets closed out with a 28-yard touchdown run by McGee and another 28-yarder by Mileon Graham.
Pascagoula will host Hancock in the regular season finale on Friday.