GULFPORT — Ocean Springs (8-1, 4-0 in region) went on a 21-point scoring spurt in the fourth quarter Friday night at Milner Stadium to pull away from Gulfport 30-7 in the battle of the two teams who were undefeated in league play.
The Admirals fell to 5-4 and 3-1.
The Greyhounds led 9-7 after the first quarter, and that score would hold up for the first three quarters. But the Greyhounds defense would put the squeeze on the Admirals offense, forcing two interceptions and a ball to go over on downs, all over a span of three consecutive possessions for Ocean Springs’ 30-7 lead.
The Greyhounds missed a 27-yard field goal on the first snap of the fourth quarter, and that seemed like a rallying cry. Eric Moore Jr. intercepted Nicholas Williams and returned the ball to the Gulfport 17. Two plays later. Will Smith would carry it 4 yards for a touchdown to put the Greyhounds up 16-7.
On the Admirals’ ensuing possession, the Greyhounds backed up Gulfport on consecutive plays. On third-and-one, they backed them up 2 yards; on fourth down, they backed them up 6 yards, leaving the Greyhounds a short field at the Gulfport 21.
Asher Faeser capped the drive with a 3-yard carry for the score and a 23-7 lead.
On Gulfport’s next possession, Williams passed into coverage and Talan Carter intercepted the throw, returning it to the Admirals 6. Smith would close out the game’s scoring with a 3-yard carry for a touchdown.
“They were the best I’ve seen in a long time,” said Greyhounds coach Jake Bramlett of his defense’s performance down the stretch. “They gave up the one big play early in the game, and after that, they were lights out. Coming up with those turnovers, and putting the offense in good situations to score, I couldn’t ask anything else out of them.
“The first half was lack of execution and missed assignments. After halftime, they responded to the halftime talk, came out and executed at a high level,” said Bramlett. “I couldn’t be more proud of where we are.”
Gulfport got on the scoreboard first on its second possession of the game. Williams connected with Gavin Brown for a 49-yard catch-and-run to put the Admirals up 7-0.
But the Greyhounds would respond. They would cover 70 yards on two plays, the first a 42-yard pass from William Berglind to Bryhsen
Smith. On the very next play, Smith would take off left for a 28-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked and the Admirals maintained the lead at 7-6.
The Admirals would give the Greyhounds excellent field position on their next possession as the punt snap was mishandled and downed in
the Greyhounds backfield at the 20. The Greyhounds failed to pick up a first down, but they came away with a 38-yard Peyton Williams field goal to give Ocean Springs the lead for good.
The Greyhounds host St. Martin next week. The Admirals travel to Harrison Central to close out the regular season for both teams.