The Biloxi Indians were looking for an upset of Florida power Tate High School on Friday night at Biloxi Stadium.
But turnovers thwarted that dream.
Tate eased past Biloxi 42-22, taking advantage of four fumbles, two interceptions and a muffed punt by the Indians.
“We beat ourselves,” Biloxi coach Bobby Hall said. “We made six turnovers, and they were all by our best players. We are learning how to play the game but we haven’t learned how to win. We are getting better.”
Biloxi fell to 0-2 while Tate, a Class 6A semifinalist in Florida a year ago, moved to 1-0.
Tate, of Gonzalez, Fla., jumped to a 21-0 first-half lead as senior quarterback Jake Henry scored on a 43-yard run, set up a 4-yard scoring run by Ladarryl Paige with a 44-yard pass to Rodriguez Smith and then hit Paige with a 17-yard TD pass.
The Indians started their comeback, going 75 yards in nine plays just before halftime. Tucker Thomas hit Tim Jones with a 25-yard TD pass with 52 seconds left in the second quarter. Jones finished with eight catches for 94 yards and rushed four times for 30 yards.
Thomas shaved the Aggie lead to 21-14 on a 20-yard run with 2:19 left in the third quarter. But the Indians turned the ball over at their own 40 on a Nick Ross fumble. Five plays later, Corey Moorer scored on a 1-yard plunge for a 28-14 advantage.
Ross quickly redeemed himself, going 40 yards for a score with 8:31 left in the game. Thomas’ 2-point conversion cut the Tate lead to 28-22.
Two quick turnovers ended the upset bid. Bishod Clark picked up a Jones’ fumble and raced 25 yards for a TD. Then following an interception of Thomas at the Biloxi 45, Moorer crashed into the end zone from 13 yards out for his second score of the game with 1:34 left.
Tate now leads its series with Biloxi 4-2, with previous wins in 2015, 1986 and 1983 while Biloxi won in 1982 and 1984.
“I think Biloxi played hard, it was a hard-fought game,” Tate coach Jay Lindsey said. “Our kids stayed the course and pulled away at the end. The first win is always a huge step.”
Henry played wide receiver as a junior and is committed to Appalachian State as a receiver. In his first start at quarterback as a senior, he rushed for 99 yards on 13 carries and completed 8 of 13 passes for 114 yards. Moore rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries.
Thomas completed 12 of 18 passes for 131 yards with two interceptions for Biloxi. He rushed for 47 yards on 16 carries while Ross rushed for 48 yards on 7 carries.
“We couldn’t beat the school of the blind with six turnovers,” Hall said. “We had our chances. We shot ourselves in the foot. And that wasn’t enough. Then we shot ourselves in the leg.”
Biloxi will now hit the road for four games in the next five weeks, going to Northshore (La.), Gautier, D’Iberville and Harrison Central before returning home to face Ocean Springs on Oct. 7.