The Sun Herald's Top 11 -- two teams tied for 10th -- a week ago went an impressive 9-2 in Week 8 of the prep football season.
How'd that .818 winning percentage translate to Week 9 rankings? Well, the top five teams remained intact. George County (4-3), riding a three-game losing streak, slipped from No. 6 to out of the poll. Poplarville (4-3) also fell from the ranked after the former No. 10 team lost 35-22 to a 2-5 Forrest County AHS squad.
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The Rebels and Hornets slipping out opened the door for the Picayune Maroon Tide (4-3) to crash the rankings for the first time since Sept. 1. Due in part to injuries and a difficult non-region schedule, No. 10 Picayune opened the year with an 0-3 losing streak. As players have began to filter back into the lineup, the Maroon Tide has re-discovered its winning ways and is currently riding a four-game winning streak. The Tide's latest win was arguably its biggest as it went to Hattiesburg and toppled a Tigers team that was previously ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press' state-wide Top 10. The 28-27 victory may have proven to be a costly one as the Coast's leading rusher, Josh Littles, left the game due to injury. His status moving forward is unclear. In other movement, No. 6 Resurrection, No. 7 St. Stanislaus, No. 8 East Central and No. 9 D'Iberville moved up one spot.
No. 1 Ocean Springs (6-1) picked up its sixth straight win after blanking Biloxi 23-0. The win marks a second straight shutout for the Greyhounds, which have allowed just 89 points though seven games.
No. 2 Gulfport (5-2) continued its run through its 4-6A slate on Friday with a convincing 42-21 win over Hancock. The usual standouts, quarterback Cleveland Ford, running backs Deon Cole and Lorazzo Shugart, and receiver Alton Conerly, all keyed the team's second straight 42-point performance.
No. 3 St. Martin (7-1) responded to its loss at Gulfport two weeks ago by scoring 63 points at Hancock a week ago and another 42 points last week against Harrison Central.
No. 4 Pascagoula (5-2) lost several key players but continues to rack up the wins. Friday, the Panthers sat star running back Reginald Hunter and quarterback Granlund Torjusen picked up the slack, passing for 142 yards and a score. Austin Beech was the go-to target, catching three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Christian Roberts had a game to remember in No. 5 Pearl River Central's 46-14 win over Long Beach. He was one of three Blue Devils (6-1) who rushed for 90-
plus yards and he found the end zone four times.
Rust was no issue for No. 6 Resurrection (6-0). After back-to-back bye weeks, the Eagles cruised to a 29-0 victory over Stringer. Receiver Pat Roth led the Coast on Friday with 144 yards receiving.
No. 7 St. Stanislaus (4-3) marked its 100th year of football with a 41-17 win over Bay High in the annual "Battle for the Crab Trap." Myles Brennan, one day after being named to MaxPreps.com's Player of the Year watch list, led the Coast with 358 yards passing and four touchdowns.
When A.J. Davis gets going, he's hard to stop. The senior has been held under 154 yards rushing just once this season -- he was held to 91 yards in the team's lone loss to St. Martin. Friday, Davis led the Coast with 231 yards and scored No. 9 East Central's lone touchdown against Pass Christian in the 12-7 nail biter.
There's only one Top 10 matchup this week as No. 7 St. Stanislaus travels to No. 8 East Central in a bout that could likely decide Region 8-4A. Other ranked teams in action: No. 3 St. Martin hosts Biloxi, No. 1 Ocean Springs visits GCHS, Harrison Central travels to No. 2 Gulfport, No. 9 D'Iberville visits Hancock, Hattiesburg heads south to No. 4 Pascagoula, West Harrison hosts No. 5 Pearl River Central, No. 10 Picayune visits Stone and No. 6 Resurrection travels to Sacred Heart.