For the first time since Sept. 29, the Sun Herald Top 10 has a new leader.
The Ocean Springs Greyhounds used a goal line stand in their 13-12 win over Hancock to jump to the top spot. OSHS was the third Coast team to hold the No. 1 rank, joining St. Martin, pre-season No. 1 St. Stanislaus and Gulfport, which opened the regular season atop the poll.
Now the Admirals are back atop the rankings.
It was a unanimous decision as then-No. 2 Gulfport (8-2, 6-0 Region 4-6A) used a rather convincing 24-7 win over Ocean Springs (8-2, 5-1 Region 4-6A) to leapfrog the Greyhounds in the weekly poll.
The Admirals, who claimed their first outright Region 4-6A title since 2012, got it done mostly on defense. Ocean Springs didn't complete a pass and turned the ball over five times in the loss.
"I knew we were going to have to play great defense in order to stop that option. When my kids came out, we hit them and then I felt pretty good," GHS coach Eddie Pierce said, later giving credit to OSHS coach Ryan Ross for what the Greyhounds had accomplished up to Friday's clash at Milner Stadium.
The Greyhounds, who won eight straight before Friday, slipped one spot to No. 2. OSHS can't dwell on the loss for too long with an important game against hot-and-cold Harrison Central (5-6, 4-2 Region 4-6A). The Red Rebels knocked off then-No. 9 D'Iberville 21-17 on Friday to jump into the rankings at No. 8. If OSHS is to retain the No. 2 spot in the region, the Greyhounds will need to defeat HCHS on the road.
In addition to HCHS, the other newcomer to this week's poll is Poplarville. The Hornets (6-4, 3-2 Region 7-4A) concluded their regular season with a 31-21 win over Columbia. Austin Bolton rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown in the win.
No. 3 Pearl River Central (9-1, 6-0 Region 4-5A) clinched its first region title in two decades with an impressive 35-13 win at Hattiesburg. Christian Roberts paced the Blue Devils with 193 yards and four scores on the ground.
After narrowly falling to rival Ocean Springs the week before, No. 4 St. Martin (9-2, 4-2 Region 4-6A) overshadowed George County's dangerous offense with a 42-20 win in Lucedale. Wayne Overman III racked up 257 yards and four touchdowns to overcome an early 14-0 deficit.
Lumberton entered Friday night having scored 30 or more points in six straight games, and 48-plus points in five consecutive matches. Then they visited No. 5 Resurrection (9-0, 5-0). The Eagles clamped down on the Panthers, holding the visitors to just eight points. That being said, the eight points did snap RCS's four-game shutout streak. The Eagles have easily been the Coast's top defensive unit in 2015, allowing just 32 points all season.
Speaking of defense, No. 6 Pascagoula (7-3, 5-1 Region 4-5A) did a number on an always-dangerous Picayune Maroon Tide (5-5, 4-2 Region 4-5A). Picayune mounted a late rally, but quarterback Skyler Bowman's fourth-and-goal pass to the end zone from the 11-yard line sailed high. The Panthers then ran out the clock to secure the region's second seed.
No. 7 St. Stanislaus (7-3, 5-0 Region 8-4A) concluded its regular season with a six-game winning streak after handling Pass Christian 42-20. During that stretch, the Rockachaws, 8-4A's top seed, have out-scored their opponents 255-149. SSC's quest to return to the Class 4A championship game begins this week at home against Quitman (2-9, 2-3 Region 5-4A).
No. 9 East Central (6-4, 3-2 Region 8-4A) fell one spot after being upset by Vancleave (4-7, 2-3 Region 8-4A) 31-28. The Coast's rushing king, A.J. Davis, added on to his lead by rushing 30 times for 131 yards and three scores. He also broke free and scored on a 95-kickoff return.
This week's lineup only features one Top 10 matchup, with No. 2 Ocean Springs traveling to No. 8 Harrison Central. No. 4 St. Martin hosts rival D'Iberville (receiving votes) and No. 3 Pearl River Central travels to Picayune (RV). Biloxi will host No. 1 Gulfport and in the other regular season finale, No. 5 Resurrection hosts Salem. In playoff action, No. 10 Poplarville travels to McComb, Northeast Jones visits No. 9 East Central and No. 7 St. Stanislaus welcomes Quitman.