What a way to kick off the 2016 high school football season.
The opening weekend in South Mississippi had a little bit of everything.
Coast football fans saw a couple shootouts, some big rivalry showdowns and a few top-ranked teams establishing their dominance.
No. 1 St. Stanislaus (1-0), No. 2 Gulfport (1-0), No. 3 St. Martin (1-0) and No. 4 George County (1-0) all made strong cases to be the top-ranked team after Week 1. SSC knocked off Biloxi (0-1) 34-10, Gulfport blanked Long Beach (0-1) 42-0, St. Martin pulled away late in a 35-14 win over Poplarville (0-1) and George County came out swinging in a 42-14 win over Gautier (0-1).
Perhaps the outcome of the week came in “The Battle of the Cats,” between Pascagoula (0-1) and new No. 5 Moss Point (1-0).
The Tigers ended a five-game skid in the heated Jackson County rivalry with the 18-13 victory. Moss Point was led by Sun Herald Offensive Player of the Week, Omni Wells, who rushed for 140 yards and a 19-yard touchdown in the win.
“I love my team. We’re going to have a good season. I love these guys,” MPHS quarterback Romello Leggins said. “It was a big goal for me to accomplish it as a senior because I haven’t beaten them since I got in high school.”
No. 6 Resurrection (1-0), No. 8 Harrison Central (0-0) and No. 9 Pearl River Central (1-0) all jumped up one spot this week. RCS defeated St. Patrick 49-0; Harrison Central opened with a bye week; PRC earned a big 34-29 win at Forrest County AHS.
In addition to Moss Point, No. 7 East Central (1-0) joined the ranking, as did Stone (1-0), which is tied with Poplarville at No. 10. ECHS put on an offensive clinic, beating St. Luke’s 62-21. Stone had its way with Vancleave, 49-6.
Both Pascagoula and Ocean Springs (0-1), which fell to Brandon 45-10, slipped out of the poll. D’Iberville and Picayune, also coming off of bye weeks, received one vote apiece.
The week ahead once again features an entertaining slate of games involving ranked foes.
Rivals PRC and Poplarville square off, RCS visits Pass Christian, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula look to get back on track, East Central hosts Stone in what was supposed to be a home game for the Tomcats and Gautier heads to Moss Point. In a showdown of teams coming off of byes, Picayune visits D’Iberville.
In games against non-Coast squads: St. Paul’s (Ala.) visits SSC, Tate (Fla.) comes to Biloxi, St. Martin travels to Madision-Ridgeland Academy, Harrison Central heads to McComb, Greene County and George County face off, and Petal treks to the Coast to play Gulfport.
Sun Herald Top 10
Rank School Record Points PVS
1. St. Stanislaus (1-0) 29 1
2. Gulfport (1-0) 28 2
3. St. Martin (1-0) 24 3
4. George County (1-0) 21 5
5. Moss Point (1-0) 17 NR
6. Resurrection (1-0) 12 7
7. East Central (1-0) 11 RV
8. Harrison Central (0-0) 7 9
9. Pearl River Central (1-0) 6 10
T10. Stone (1-0) 3 NR
T10. Poplarville (0-1) 3 8
Dropped out: Pascagoula (0-1; 2; 4), Ocean Springs (0-1; 0; 6)
Receiving votes: D’Iberville (0-0; 1; RV), Picayune (0-0; 1; RV)