Video: Sports Guys preview state high school football championship match ups
When the Resurrection Catholic and St. Stanislaus football teams take the field in Oxford this weekend to compete for state championships, they have a chance to make history for the Coast.
In all the years that the state has crowned state champions, there's never been an instance where two teams from the Coast have won in the same year.
That could change this week when Resurrection (13-0) takes on Simmons (11-0) at 11 a.m. on Friday in the Class 1A state title game and St. Stanislaus (11-3) faces Noxubee County (11-4) in the 4A title contest at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Biloxi and Picayune were the only Coast schools to be crowned state champs when the honor was handed out in two stretches, 1923-30 and 1948-49.
It wasn't until 1980 that state championships were decided on an annual basis in multiple classifications based on size of enrollment.
From 1950-80, schools were generally lumped together geographically. The only exception was the Big 8, which featured the state's largest schools.
Biloxi won five Big 8 titles and Gulfport won four. Pascagoula claims three Big 8 championships.
If both Resurrection and St. Stanislaus travel home with title trophies, the Coast will have reason to celebrate as a whole.
After picking both RCS and SSC to win last week, I'm 132-44 overall on high school football picks headed into the final week:
Resurrection 21, Simmons 14: Class 1A lost two of its best programs when last year's title game participants, Natchez Cathedral and St. Aloysius, decided to leave MHSAA to join the private schools. That doesn't mean the quality of teams in this year's title game are any less talented.
RCS and Simmons have been dominant throughout the season, but Simmons has been especially convincing in how it's cruised to a perfect mark. The Blue Devils won their first region game, 26-6, over Shaw. In the six games that followed, Simmons has won by at least 40 points.
It's unlikely that Simmons has faced a defense close to as talented as RCS this season. The Eagles feature size up front and enough athleticism to make sure Simmons star Nero Nelson doesn't run wild.
The Eagles can rely on a solid group of running backs and a tough defensive front to lead the way to a title.
Noxubee County 35, St. Stanislaus 31: The Rockachaws have closed the gap after losing 48-27 to Noxubee County in the 4A state title game last year, but the Tigers still have star defensive end Jeffery Simmons and quarterback Timorrius Conner from last season's team.
St. Stanislaus junior quarterback Myles Brennan is a year older and significantly improved with his decision-making and mobility.
However, Brennan hasn't been chased by players the caliber of Simmons this season.
Conner had a big day against the Rockachaws last season with 340 yards passing and four touchdowns.
If SSC slows Conner down on offense, it has a good shot to get its revenge.