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Oak Grove opens strong, beats Gulfport, 33-7

Published: Nov. 13, 2021 at 1:23 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG Miss. (WDAM) - Oak Grove High School could not have scripted its opening-round game of the Class 6A football playoffs much better than what actually played out Friday night at Warrior Field.

The Warriors not only opened the game strong, scoring on their first two possessions on their way to a 27-7 halftime lead, but opened defense of its Class 6A state football crown with a dominant, 33-7 victory over visiting Gulfport High School.

Running back J. Q, Gray scored four touchdowns, hauling in three of quarterback Kabe Barnett’s four scoring passes and also scoring on a 3-yard run as the Warriors took the first step back to a fourth consecutive appearance in the Class 6A championship game.

“I told them all week if we come ready, practice hard, do what we’re supposed to do, play all four quarters, we’ll be a hard team to beat,” Oak Grove coach Drew Causey said.

The Warriors (9-2) will travel to Ocean Springs High School Friday in the South State semifinals. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Greyhounds (11-0) downed Pearl High School 54-28 Friday night.

“I don’t know much about them,,” Causey said. “Haven’t really watched them on film.

“I know they’re the No. 1 team in the state and haven’t lost a game. They’re beating people pretty bad, so we’re going to need another great week of practice, prepare the right way and see if we can’t go down there and score some points.”

The Warriors would get a huge boost if Barnett remains as hot as he was Friday night.

Barnett finished off the game’s opening drive with a 38-yard scoring pass to Tyrell Pollard, and then teamed with Gray on scoring passes of 87 yards and 26 yards.

On the first, Gray caught the ball about 20 yards downfield and then turned on the jets. On the second, Gray made a leaping grab over Gulfport’s defenders to give the Warriors a 20-7 lead.

“That’s just what I’m looking for every game, having a first-drive touchdown and keep it going from there,” Barnett said. “I felt very good in pregame, throwing the ball. I knew it was gong to be a good game for me.”

Gray added his touchdown run in the second quarter, and the Barnett capped the scoring in the final period when he found Gray in the right flat with a 13-yard score.

“Kabe was clicking,” Causey said of Barnett, who hit his first 10 passes of the game. “When he’s on, he’s pretty dang good.”

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