“Same song, second verse. A little bit louder, a little bit worse….”
In the 14 football seasons from 2009-2022 when Class 6A was the highest classification of competition for the Mississippi High School Activities Association, no team from the three southernmost Gulf Coast counties ever reached the overall state finals on that highest level.
And now, with the advent of Class 7A for the first time ever across the state, the playoff miseries remain for the biggest schools on the coast.
Region 4-7A was almost inexplicably swept in four games against Region 3-7A opponents in the opening round of the Class 7A South State playoffs Friday night. Be it home or away, it didn’t matter as the postseason woes continued for the local teams.
Meridian knocked off home-standing and region 4-7A champ Ocean Springs 35-23, while Gulfport also suffered a home loss falling to Pearl 17-13. Both Harrison Central and Biloxi were hammered on the road by Brandon and Oak Grove, respectively.
The closest a team in the previous Class 6A came to making a trip to the state finals was last year, when undefeated OSHS saw its dream season come to an end at home in Greyhound Stadium at the hands of visiting Brandon on.a last second field goal 34-31 in the South State finals.
Friday’s results were in no way unusual, however. Those four losses mark 41 times in the past 13 seasons that squads in the largest classification along the coast have gone “one and done” in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Overall, since the 2010 season, the schools on the coast in the largest classification have won 11 playoff games and lost 45. That’s a paltry percentage of just under 20 percent. Also, Friday night marked the sixth time in the past 15 seasons that Region 3 swept Region 4 in the opening round of the playoffs in the largest classification.
And even that ridiculous won-loss record has been bolstered a bit by Ocean Springs, who won a pair of playoff games last season as well as one in 2021.
Gulfport, however, continues its playoff struggles. The Admirals have now lost in the first round of the playoffs 10 times since the 2011 season and GHS is just 2-12 since 2010 in the playoffs.
Gulfport’s only playoff win in that span was a 201-9 victory over George County in 2019. The Rebels, for a brief period of time, were part of Region 3-6A.
Biloxi has lost in the first round of the state playoffs six straight times as well as seven of the past nine seasons. The Indians are 1-7 in the postseason since 2010.
D’Iberville hasn’t made the state playoffs the past two seasons, but before that, the Warriors lost in the first round five out of six times since 2015. Since becoming a part of the largest classification in the state in 2011, DHS is 3-10 in the state playoffs.
Since 2009, Harrison Central has earned trips to the playoffs seven times and the Red Rebels have been eliminated in the opening round on six occasions and stand 1-7 overall in eight games.
St. Martin has never won a playoff game, and the Yellow Jackets have only qualified for the postseason three times in the past 20 years.
Hancock stayed in Class 6A after reclassification over the summer but as a member of the largest classification during that span from 2009-2022 the Hawks went 1-3 in the playoffs.
Also, George County and Pascagoula each spent two separate stints of two seasons each in what was then Region 4-6A over the past 14 seasons before this year, but both were non-factors. The Rebels haven’t won a playoff game in 16 years and the Panthers failed to qualify for the postseason during their brief time in the largest classification. West Harrison spent some time in the largest classification level in the state over the past decade as well but the Hurricanes have never made the playoffs in program history.