OCEAN SPRINGS — For the fourth time in the past six seasons, the football season for Ocean Springs ended in the opening round of the state playoffs.
But the latest loss was by far the toughest to take.
Visiting Meridian marched into the Greyhound Stadium and walked away with a 35-23 upset of Ocean Springs Friday night in the first round of the Class 7A South State playoffs. The win by the Wildcats moves Meridian to 4-0 all-time against the Greyhounds on the gridiron, with all four decisions coming in the state playoffs.
The loss snapped a nine-game win streak for OSHS, as the Greyhounds finished the season under first-year head coach Jake Bramlett 9-2. Meridian moves to just 6-6 overall and advances to the second round of the playoffs next week.
Ocean Springs came into the game as the number one seed in Region 4-7A, while the Wildcats barely squeezed into the state playoffs as the fourth and final seed in Region 3-7A with an overall losing record.
Meridian standout tailback Daniel Hill scored three touchdowns, all on the ground, including the back-breaker from 54-yards out on a third and 12 situations from just past midfield with just over two minutes to play to results in the final count.
Hill also scored on a 1-yard plunge six minutes earlier to make the score 28-17 Meridian. He started the scoring in the game with another 1-yard scoring run on the final play of the first quarter.
Ocean Springs answered less than three minutes later, when Greyhound quarterback William Berglind keept from 16-yards out to tie things up at 7-7.
Later in the frame, Berglind was picked off by Wildcat defender Deontae Hopper who returned the interception for a score and Meridian went into halftime with a 14-7 lead.
Ocean Springs’ Peyton Williams booted a 30-yard field goal at the 8:06 mark of the third quarter to get the Greyhounds as close as they would be all night at 14-10.
But Meridian countered with a Jordan Siaw to Dyon Eason scoring pass of 39-yards less than two minutes later to extend its lead to 21-10 with 6:10 on the third frame clock.
With its season on the line, Berglin rallied OSHS and cut back into the deficit with a 17-yard touchdown toss to Asher Faesar and the margin was 21-17 with 4:09 left in the third period.
But Hill’s second touchdown pushed the Meridian advantage back to 11, and then his final scoring scamper ended the Greyhound season.
Bryshen Smith also scored on a 4-yard reverse for OSHS in the final period.