HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Hattiesburg High School already has punched its postseason ticket, thanks in large part to a three-game winning streak that included an important road win at Gautier High School last week.
But HHS coach Tony Vance said the Tigers will be playing for more than just pride at 7 p.m. Friday night when they welcome East Central High School to D.I. Patrick Stadium to close out the regular season and Region 4-5A play.
“You want to be on a winning streak headed into the postseason, so obviously, you want to keep that going,” Vance said. “It’s very important to us.”
Hattiesburg (6-3, 4-2) is tied for third place in the Region 4-5A standings with Pascagoula High School (5-4, 4-2), which hold the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Tigers earlier this season.
East Central (8-1, 5-1) is tied atop the region standings with Picayune High School (8-1, 5-1), though the Maroon Tide owns the head-to-head tiebreaker having beaten the Hornets earlier this season.
Vance said the best Hattiesburg can finish is the number three seed among the four teams that will make the Class 5A playoffs out of Region 4-5A.
Regardless, Vance said the Tigers should be proud of what they’ve accomplished through a season unlike any other with cloud of COVID-19 hovering since March.
“It’s just been –layers getting healthy at the right time,” Vance said. "It’s just been about continuity. We’ve been able to play and practice and get better every week.
“We’re one of two teams, I think, in our (region) that has not had to forfeit a game or been victorious because of a forfeit. We’ve been able to play all our (region) games and that’s a blessing for us. We’ve been fortunate. We’ve been able to play all our games, which has been good for us and helped us get prepared to play in the postseason.”
Vance said Friday night’s match-up should be good preparation for the postseason.
“They’ll probably be one of the better football teams we play all year,” Vance said. "Definitely, they’ll be a physical team,
"They’re very similar to Picayune n what they want to do. They’re going to try and control the line of scrimmage, control the clock, and we’ve got take advantage of what they want to do.