HATTIESBURG _ Last week, Hattiesburg High School football coach Tony Vance talked about how proud he was of Tigers for taking care of the football, having committed just one turnover all season.
So, of course, Hattiesburg goes out Friday and turns the ball over three times in the game’s opening half, including an interception returned for a touchdown and a lost fumble at the Tigers’ 1-yard line.
While the early turnovers allowed Stone High School to hang around and keep Hattiesburg in sight, in the end, the unbeaten Tigers simply cranked up their offense, stiffened on defense and ran away with the region contest.
Senior Fabian Franklin and junior Drexlan Allen each ran for three touchdowns as Hattiesburg rushed for 308 yards in a 62-27 victory over the visiting Tomcats at D.I. Patrick Stadium.
“You know, this thing that we’d been so good at the first five games, it got us (Friday) night,” Vance said. “You can’t turn the ball over. We had a pick six. We fumbled the ball at our own 1, and it’s hard to stop anybody at the 1. We gave them 14 points.”
In this instance, it didn’t affect the bottom line. The Tigers (6-0, 2-0 Region 4-5A) led 21-7 after one quarter, 33-20 at halftime and 48-27 after three quarters.
“Sixty-two points, you should win some ballgames,” Vance said. “We got through that early stretch, and fortunately, were able to impose our will on the game.”
The Tigers started with a bang, when junior quarterback Jarod Conner flipped the ball behind the line to senior receiver D’Andre Humbles, who then found senior linebacker/tight end Will Robinson for a 59-yard touchdown.
It marked the second consecutive week that Robinson had caught a touchdown pass.
Conner completed 12 of 18 passes for a 135 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries as the Tigers piled up 504 yards total offense.
Franklin ran for 98 yards and three scores on just nine carries, while Allen went for 66 yards and three scores on 16 carries. Humbles hauled in three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown and junior Darius Ruff had three catches for 74 yards.
The Tigers take to the road for three, consecutive region contests, including a visit to Pearl River Central High School at 7 p.m. Friday in Carriere. The Blue Devils (0-6, 0-2) dropped a 28-14 Region 4-5A decision Friday to visiting Wayne County High School.
Stone (3-2, 1-1) will host Picayune High School at 7 p.m. Friday in region contest. The Maroon Tide (5-1, 2-0) swept away West Harrison High School 55-14 Friday.
Perry Central 63, Richton 6
RICHTON _ Perry Central rushed for six touchdowns and three different players returned interceptions for touchdowns as the Bulldogs ran past the Rebels in Friday’s Perry County showdown and the Region 8-2A opener for both schools.
Senior running back McKail Sumrall ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns on only six carries and senior quarterback Tijuane Bolton went for 74 yards and two more scores on just four carries as Perry Central kept the ball on the ground all night.
The Bulldogs finished with 286 yards rushing, with junior Derrick Hartfield running for 70 yards and a score on jut two carries and junior Kevin Lindsey adding 15 yards and a touchdown on two carries.
Senior Chris Sumrall had 35 yards on four carries and Jaden Scott ran for 16 yards on four carries as none of six scoring drives took longer than six plays and two of them were of one play. The Bulldogs did not commit a penalty Friday.
Perry Central (7-0, 1-0 Region 8-2A) led all the way, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and scoring 36 unanswered points in the second quarter for a 42-6 lead at halftime.
The Bulldogs picked off four passes from the Rebels (1-6, 0-1), with Lindsey, Chris Sumrall and senior Tyree Bolton each bringing their respective interception back for a touchdown. Senior Quincy Scott also had an interception.
Perry Central has an open week before returning Oct. 13 to welcome St. Patrick High School to New Augusta for a region game.
Richton will visit St. Patrick at 7 p.m. Friday in Biloxi. The Fighting Irish (2-4, 0-1) fell 42-7 to North Forrest High School Friday in the region opener for both schools.
West Jones 46, Natchez 15
SOSO _ Junior Dustin Cook threw for a pair of touchdowns and senior Austin Land ran for two more as the Mustangs scored a season-high in points in a defeat of the visiting Bulldogs.
West Jones (4-2, 1-1 Region 3-5A) led 7-0 after a quarter, stretched the lead over Natchez (4-2, 1-1) to 23-7 at halftime and entered the final quarter ahead 39-7.
Cook completed 9 of 17 passes for 120 yards, including scoring passes to seniors Garrick Randolph (three catches, 76 yards) and Devrion Hatten (two catches, 12 yards).
Land rans for 73 yards on 22 carries. Sophomore Londarriuis McRunnels had 15 yards and a touchdown on four carries and sophomore Jasper Jones added 41 yards and a score on eight carries.
Senior Davion Moore had an interception and forced a fumble, senior Maurice Pruitt also picked off a pass and sophomore Tavis Wilson was credited with a safety.
Junior Walker Thompson connected on five of six extra points and also kicked a 31-yard field goal.
The Mustangs will travel to North Pike High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Jaguars (5-1, 1-1) topped Jackson Wingfield High School 28-12 Friday.
Stringer 45, Resurrection Catholic 39
STRINGER _ Junior running back Anthony Thomas scored five times for the Red Devils, including a 65-yard touchdown run after the Eagles had closed to 39-33 in the fourth quarter in the Region 4-1A duel.
Thomas had two, 55-yard scoring runs, and added touchdown from 12 yards and 6 yards as well as two-point conversion run.
His 65-yarder put Stringer (6-1, 1-0) ahead 45-33, and the Red Devils intercepted passes to end Resurrection threats in the last 6 minutes of the game at the 6-yard line and 25-yard in the fourth quarter before the Eagles (2-5, 1-1) scored for the final time in the final minutes.
Senior quarterback Cayleb Dyess threw touchdown passes to senior Reece Barber (70 yards) and junior Keyshan Dease (40 yards) as the Red Devils won their sixth consecutive game.
Stringer will visit Mount Olive High School at 7 p.m. Friday in a region contest. The Pirates (2-5, 1-1) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 40-16 victory over Salem High School Friday in Tylertown.