Gulfport rode its defense to dominate Long Beach in the Shrimp Bowl on Friday night at Biloxi Stadium.
The Admirals converted four turnovers into 21 points in a 42-0 rout.
Linebacker Orlando Brown had a fumble return for touchdown and added a fumble recovery for the Admirals.
“It meant a lot to get that first win,” Brown said. “Nobody worked harder than we did all year round. We deserved this victory, especially the seniors.”
Gulfport coach Eddie Pierce wasn’t surprised the Admirals’ defense was solid. Long Beach’ offense was limited to 158 yards in total offense. Forty-five of those yards came on a run by LaBoris Gardner.
“We expect to play well on defense,” Pierce said. “We felt that our defense would be pretty good. Our front seven was returning. We lost two members in the secondary. Our defensive coaches did a great job.”
Gulfport took a 7-0 lead midway in the first quarter on Brown’s 21 yard fumble return for touchdown.
Long Beach had a chance to tie the game, reaching Gulfport’s six-yard line, but the Admirals stopped the Bearcats on fourth and five.
A 14 yard punt put the Bearcats in position again. But Gulfport’s secondary stopped Long Beach on fourth and 11 at the Admirals 28, knocking down a pass.
Larazzo Shugart’s 21 yard TD run gives Admirals 14-0 lead. The one-play, scoring drive was set up by Karlos Dilliard’s 24 yard interception return.
Ta’Quoris Newsome 1 yard TD run extended the Admirals’ lead to 21-0 at halftime.
Lucious Tyson’s interception at the Admirals’ 44 set up the Admirals’ third scoring drive.
Gulfport padded its lead to 28-0 as Shugart scored from 33 yards out early in the third quarter.
Cleveland Ford’s 16-yard TD pass to Sean Daniels gave Gulfport a 35-0 lead with 10 minutes left. Ford’s 63 yard pass to Jalen Knight set up the Admirals’ final scoring drive with starters.
Newsome’s 19 yard TD run with 4:46 left closed the game’s scoring. Dilliard’s blocked punt set up the drive.
The Admirals’ offense was effective, but showed potential for big plays in the passing game. Shugart led all rushers with 114 yards and two scores. Newsome had 40 yards rushing and two TDs. Ford threw for 119 yards and a TD.