Tigers find themselves in playoff contention with win against Gautier.By DEANA SMITH,
The Hattiesburg High Tigers extended their winning streak to three games with the 45-21 victory over the Gautier Gators on senior night. The Tigers are now looking to face the East Central Hornets next as both teams are hoping to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Despite the cold weather, the first of the season, Hattiesburg High’s D.I. Patrick Stadium was packed out Friday night with fans, including Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.
“I try to make every game because I know how football makes such a huge impact on the direct mood of our community,” said Barker, who also gave credit to Coach Tony Vance and the job he has done with The Tiger team. “I’m so proud of Coach (Vance) for what he has done during these past two games with really gutsy wins.”
The first quarter was all defense leaving both team scoreless, however the rest of the game brought a different outcome.
Hattiesburg opened the start of the second quarter by scoring in just 22 seconds. Running back Jamal Donaldson ran four yards into the end zone to give the Tigers their first points. This was just the beginning of an offensive spurt for the Tigers who went on to score six more touchdowns. Running back Courtland Harris rushed for three of the scores himself.
Not only did The Tigers’ offense show up in a big way, but the defense was explosive making big plays, allowing costly penalties and turnovers against the Gators. Hattiesburg’s middle linebacker Ijerius Brown recovered a huge fumble running the ball into the end zone with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.
Gautier Head Coach Marc High said “one of the biggest stresses leading up to Friday’s game was the rainy practices they had on the Coast.”
High’s team tacked on three touchdowns (two of three on defense) in an effort to slow down a determined Tiger team.
Despite a big win and a celebratory mood, Vance knows the season is far from over.
“Next for our Tigers is to go into East Central and finish business,” he said.
The Tigers are looking for their fourth win in a row, as well as clinching a spot in the playoffs.