GAUTIER — The old adage says records can be thrown out the window once it’s playoff time. That was certainly the case Friday night as French Camp, with three victories, gave Resurrection Catholic School, which came in 7-2, all it wanted for a half before falling to the Eagles 21-7 in the opening round of the Class 1A South State football playoffs.
The Panthers had a surprising 7-0 lead early in the second quarter as their defense kept Resurrection’s running game under wraps. But late in the second quarter, RCS scored a pair of quick touchdowns to go up 14-7 at halftime and the Eagles added their final TD in the third quarter.
The victory advances the 8-2 Eagles to round two of the playoffs and they will host the winner of the West Tallahatchee-Lee County game next Friday at 7 p.m. at Pascagoula’s War Memorial Stadium.
“It was a good win. I’m proud of the guys. We worked hard this week,” RCS second-year head coach Eric Denmark said. “Not taking anything away from them, but they got after it. They have some big old boys. They stopped our inside game so we hurt them on the outside.”
Denmark said he was disappointed at the final score. “To be honest with you I thought it should have been 34-7.”
Resurrection had a chance to take the early lead on its sixth play of the game but running back Daniel Pickens couldn’t quite hold onto a 33-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Luke Schnoor.
French Camp scored it’s only touchdown to take the early 7-0 lead on a scintillating 80-yard sprint by quarterback Avery Simmons, who tightroped the sideline in front of the RCS bench. Reese Churchill booted the point after.
RCS struck right back with a 63-yard, 7-play drive, all on the ground to knot things up at 7-7. Brice Brown carried twice for 20 yards and Pickens got the rest of the yards, capping the drive with a 17-yard scoring scamper. The PAT was converted by Iain Cumbest.
A botched punt by French Camp put RCS in position to take the lead late in the second quarter. Punter Noah Dew couldn’t field a low snap and as he was chased by two RCS defenders was able to lateral the ball to Silas Hodge, who managed to get off a punt for a 2-yard loss.
Two plays later, Schnoor found Pickens with a perfect pass for 41 yards to the 1-yard line. Pickens romped in on the next play and Cumbest converted to give RCS a 14-7 halftime lead.
The final RCS score came on a 75-yard Schnoor to Jaylen Harper pass. Harper was wide open and had to hold up for the ball, then he stiff-armed a defender en route to the end zone.
Denmark said his team wasn’t shaken by the early deficit. “I told them to forget it. Let’s play ball. No big deal. I don’t think it phased them any.”
French Camp finishes the season 3-8.
Resurrection now advances to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in four years, since 2019, after falling in the opening round both last year and in 2020. The Eagles are in the Class 1A state playoffs for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons.