HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - At D. I. Patrick Stadium, an oval track encircles the football field.
Saturday night, Hattiesburg High School and Petal High School staged a meet in helmets and shoulder pads within its confines.
Petal pocketed a 56-42 victory in a frenetic shootout that saw the two teams combine for nearly 100 points and nearly 1,100 yards of total offense.
"Expect that? No, certainly not," Petal coach Marcus Boyles said. "I knew both offenses had the opportunity to put up some big points, but I didn't think both of us would do it."
"But then I looked up and it was 21-14 with nine minutes to go in the first quarter, so …"
The numbers were staggering in the season opener for both schools.
Both teams topped 500 yards total offense, with Petal (1-0) collecting 515 yards, including 368 yards rushing. Hattiesburg (0-1) picked up 569 yards, including 376 yards passing.
Touchdowns were scored on the first five possessions of the game, with the Panthers scoring three times on a total of 10 snaps. The Tigers needed just 12 plays to score twice, and then were thwarted on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the first of two times they would turn the ball over on downs after reaching a first and goal.
The individual numbers mirrored the teams. Consider:
- Petal running back Stephon Huderson rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries, including a 48-yard score on the first offensive snap of the game. He added touchdown runs of 3 yards and 53 yards and caught a 43-yard touchdown pass.
- In his first game as Petal quarterback, Tanner Estill completed 5 of 9 passes for two touchdowns and rushed for 160 yards and two more touchdowns (40 yards, 13 yards) on 16 carries. In addition to the scoring toss to Hudderson, Estill hit Nic Russell for a 55-yard score and was intercepted once.
- Running back Xavier Yancey, who played for HHS last season, added 60 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
- Hattiesburg quarterback Julian Conner completed 24 of 42 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns, including a 69-yard score to D’Andre Humbles and a 10-yarder to Jordan Murphy. Conner, who also had two, 2-point conversion passes, netted 52 yards on 14 carries, including an 8-yard touchdown run.
- Humbles caught eight passes for 154 yards, took a reverse for 20 yards and completed a 28-yard pass. He also took a shovel pass for two points.
- Murphy caught nine passes for 136 yards and also caught a 2-pont conversion.
- Hattiesburg running back Fabian Franklin rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns (32 yards, 10 yards) on 15 carries.
"We're going to be an exciting football team," HHS coach Tony Vance said. "We're going to get better, there's no doubt in my mind.
"But hey, (Petal's a) good football team. No doubt about it, a very good football team. They did a great job executing their game plan."
After the Tigers failed at the goal line to start the second quarter, the action actually simmered down for the next four possessions,
But after an Estill punt pinned the Tigers at their one, HHS was forced to punt the ball back. The Panthers took over at HHS' 45-yard line, and on the first play, Estill found Russell behind the secondary for a 55-yard score that made it 28-20.
From that point, the game went from "keep up" to "catch up" mode.
"I don't know," Estill said. "I'm just so happy right now. I'm glad we showed up. Our offense did tremendous."