Gulfport’s run of 13 consecutive Region 4-6A victories will face a stiff test Friday night when it plays host to D’Iberville at Milner Stadium.
The Admirals (7-1, 4-0) put in likely their best performance of the season on defense last week in a 42-21 win over rival Harrison Central, forcing a total of five turnovers. Two of Harrison Central’s touchdowns came when the game was already well in hand.
Last Friday’s victory ended a six-game winning streak for the Red Rebels, and may be a sign that Gulfport is beginning to play its best football at just the right time.
While Gulfport has had no problem scoring points behind senior quarterback T.Q. Newsome, D’Iberville also has plenty of firepower on offense with junior quarterback Jaden Walley leading the way. He has thrown for 542 yards and nine touchdowns while running for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The key for D’Iberville (5-2, 3-1) will be to find a way to step it up on defense after giving up an average of 36 points over the last three games.
My pick: Gulfport 38, D’Iberville 31.
Here is how I see the rest of Friday’s games playing out:
St. Martin 34, Ocean Springs 28: Whoever wins this game will be in good shape for a playoff bid headed into the final two weeks of the regular season, but the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-2) need the victory a little more. St. Martin has several players on offense, defense and special teams who can change a game in a hurry, including senior Elijah Washington who has 909 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns total. The offensive trio of quarterback Blake Noblin, running back Micah Kelly and receiver Khalil Levy is getting better by the week for Ocean Springs (5-3, 3-1).
Biloxi 24, Pascagoula 21: Pascagoula (1-7, 0-4) has come close to ending a four-game losing streak a couple of times, but hasn’t had the ball bounce its way late in games. If Biloxi (3-5, 1-3) is to make a late surge for a postseason bid, the Indians have to win this one at ‘Goula.
Harrison Central 35, Hancock 27: Sophomore Jaidon McClain has become a big-play back for the Red Rebels (6-2, 3-1) in recent weeks. After sitting out a month’s worth of games, he has 353 yards over the last three games. He is averaging 8.5 yards a carry this season.
Terry 28, George County 17: Terry (5-4, 1-3) has been a strong team on the ground this season, rushing for 2,090 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Gautier 35, Pearl River Central 31: There is currently a four-way tie at third place in Region 4-5A with Wayne County, Stone High, Gautier and PRC all standing at 2-2. Gautier (5-3, 2-2) needs this victory to get past its 28-15 loss at Stone High. If PRC (3-5, 2-2) wins this game, it will show a significant step forward for the team in Jacob Owen’s first year on the job as head coach.
Wayne County 31, Stone High 24: This contest will be another big one in Region 4-5A. Since returning three games ago, Stone High senior quarterback Trey Arrington has thrown for 275 yards and six touchdowns while running for 532 yards and a touchdown.
Hattiesburg 38, Picayune 28: The Tigers (8-0, 4-0) have pummeled the competition all season, leaving little doubt as to who is the best team in all of Class 5A. If there’s one team that can challenge Hattiesburg in region play, it’s Picayune (6-2, 4-0) with its potent rushing attack.
Long Beach 28, West Harrison 24: The West Harrison football team (2-6, 0-4) hasn’t won a region contest since 2013. The last team the Hurricanes beat was Long Beach, 27-20, in that year’s season finale.
Poplarville 35, Purvis 10: The Tornadoes (1-7, 0-3) have lost five straight games while Poplarville (7-1, 3-0) has won seven consecutive. Ten different Hornets have scored touchdowns this season with seniors Amahd Bolton and Antonio Barnes both leading the way with nine.
East Central 31, Bay High 7: The East Central offense has yet to really getting rolling, but it’s only a matter of time before the Class 4A and Sun Herald No. 1 Hornets break loose. Junior running back Dylan Grinsteinner leads East Central (7-0, 3-0) in rushing with 123 carries for 762 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Moss Point 14, St. Stanislaus 10: There are several good, young receivers on the Coast and Moss Point’s Chanton Millender is one of the best with 41 catches for 576 yards and eight touchdowns.
Vancleave 35, Pass Christian 14: If Vancleave (4-4, 1-2) beats Pass Christian and East Central tops Bay High, the Bulldogs are in the playoffs.
St. Patrick 28, Clarkdale 20: The Irish (3-5, 0-3) should end their four-game losing streak against a Clarksdale squad that has lost five consecutive games.
Lumberton 35, Resurrection 24: This contest will take place at Gautier at 7 p.m. on Saturday and should be one of the better games in all of Class 1A. RCS is 6-2 overall and 3-1 in Region 8-1A while Lumberton checks in at 7-1 and 3-0.
Sun Herald Top 5
1. East Central (7-0)
2. Gulfport (7-1)
3. Picayune (6-2)
4. Poplarville (7-1)
5. Harrison Central (6-2)