High School Sports

Patrick’s Picks: Pride on the line for Gulfport-Biloxi. It’s playoff time in 4A.

Some make the argument that the Gulfport-Biloxi football game has been overshadowed by other Coast rivalries in recent years, but there’s no denying that pride is still on the line Friday night.

The Indians play host to the Admirals in a game that doesn’t have much impact on the Region 4-6A standings or the postseason picture. Gulfport (8-2, 6-0) clinched the region title last week in a 21-10 victory over Ocean Springs. Biloxi (8-2, 4-2) appears headed to be the No. 4 seed in the region unless it can upset the Admirals and Harrison Central can stun Ocean Springs (5-5, 4-2).

Biloxi can only climb as high as the No. 3 seed, meaning it will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs regardless of Friday’s outcome.

Even though Gulfport has managed to run its region winning streak of 22 games, head coach John Archie and his players are confident that they haven’t played their best game of the season yet.

“We’ve still got a ways to go,” Archie said. “I feel like when we play our best football, we have a chance to play for a championship.”

The main hurdle for Gulfport at the moment is to find a way to eliminate penalties. The Admirals have overcome numerous penalties on offense in recent weeks.

Biloxi has won three straight headed into Friday’s game with the offense beginning to find its way under junior quarterback Chad O’Neal. He is at his most dangerous on ground, running 11 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Hancock County.

Gulfport will host the No. 4 seed out of Region 3-6A in the first round of the playoffs.

Picayune, D’Iberville and Hancock have shown that you can gain yardage on the ground against Gulfport.

My pick: Gulfport 24, Biloxi 17.

D’Iberville 35, St. Martin 20: St. Martin (7-3, 3-3) has been eliminated from the playoffs, but the Yellow Jackets will always get up for this game. D’Iberville (8-1, 5-2) will host the No. 3 seed in region 3-6A in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors surely haven’t forgotten St. Martin’s 48-28 win at D’Iberville a year ago.

George County 38, Meridian 10: The Rebels (6-4, 3-3) are in good position to clinch a playoff bid with a victory, but point differential in other games could also come to play. To make the path simpler, George County fans should be rooting for Brandon to beat Pearl and Oak Grove to beat Northwest Rankin.

Hancock 28, West Harrison 24: These are two teams that haven’t won a region contest this season, but there’s plenty on the line. A win here could be a nice boost going into the offseason, especially for West Harrison (1-9, 0-6).

Ocean Springs 28, Harrison Central 10: Last week’s 21-10 loss at Gulfport was a frustrating night on offense for the Greyhounds (5-5, 4-2), but they should be in good shape to close out the regular season with a win. The Greyhounds will travel to the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in Region 3-6A to start the playoffs.

East Central 35, Hattiesburg 21: This amounts to a playoff game for both teams with the winner advancing to the playoffs and the loser staying home. Ever since stumbling late in a 42-40 loss to Wayne County, East Central (6-4, 3-3) hasn’t quite been at its best. Hattiesburg (4-6, 3-3) has won three straight to be in this position.

Pearl River Central 27, Gautier 21: Gautier (2-8, 1-5) has lost five straight while PRC (3-7, 2-4) is hoping to end the season on a positive note following a disappointing 1-4 win over the last five games.

Picayune 38, Wayne County 28: The winner of this game will be the No. 1 seed in Region 4-5A and host the No. 4 seed out of Region 3-5A to start the playoffs. This is a long trip for the Maroon Tide (10-0, 6-0) and Waynesboro is always a tough place to play. That being said, I don’t see Dodd Lee’s farewell tour ending without another region title.

Moss Point 35, Stone High 28: Moss Point coach Eugene Harmon deserves a great deal of credit for leading the Tigers to their first region championship in a decade. However, this first-round playoff game in Moss Point (3-6) can’t be taken for granted. John Feaster’s Stone High team (3-6) was a handful in the Class 5A playoffs the last three seasons, beating West Jones in 2017 and nearly upsetting the Mustangs again in 2018. Moss Point will have to be on its game. The winner will face the winner of Newton County-Lanier in the second round.

St. Stanislaus 38, Poplarville 35: Poplarville (5-5) has been hurt this season by teams that can throw the ball. St. Stanislaus (6-4) and Max Favre can sling it with the best of them in Class 4A. The winner will take on the victor of North Pike-Quitman in the second round.

Pass Christian 31, Purvis 21: The Pirates won a 39-36 game at Purvis in September. Purvis makes the trek to Pass Christian this time around and the Tornadoes stumbled down the stretch with losses in two of their past three games. This games is matched up with Northeast Jones-South Pike in the next round.

Greene County 31, Vancleave 14: The Greene County Wildcats (7-3) have emerged as one of the favorites to contend for a Class 4A South State title. They allowed just 27 points in region competition. Vancleave coach Kevin Fant will have to get creative to put some points on the board in Leakesville. The winner plays the winner of Lawrence County-Mendenhall in the second round.

Pascagoula 38, Long Beach 14: Pascagoula (5-5, 3-3) is in the playoffs regardless of the outcome. If the Panthers win as expected, they will travel to Laurel (8-2) in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.