The Hattiesburg Tigers (1-4) host the Pascagoula Panthers (2-3) Friday night in the first home region game of the season.
This is the first meeting between Hattiesburg and Pascagoula since the 2016 season, which Hattiesburg won 49-14.
The Tigers have started the season 1-4 for the first time since 2013, Tony Vance’s first season with the program. The 2013 team finished 4-8 and made the playoffs.
“I feel like we’ve gotten better each week,” Head Coach Tony Vance said. “We just need to find our rhythm and we’ll win some games.”
The Tigers have shown glimpses of that rhythm this season, and it all starts with the running game.
“I think we’re starting to solidify our offensive line. We’ve found five guys that I think work well together and give us the best shot at winning,” Vance said.
The Tigers have yet to start the same five offensive linemen in a game this year. A consistent five would help running backs Jamal Donaldson, Courtland Harris, and Nakirri Gray find bigger holes to run through.
Region 4-5A Standings
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers need to keep creating turnovers. Through the first five games, Hattiesburg has a +2 turnover margin with four interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
Pascagoula is a run-first team, with both senior Jacoryn Walker and junior Kayvon Barnes averaging over 100 yards on the ground.
“We’re going to have to tackle well at the line of scrimmage,” Vance said. “We had too many missed tackles last week that turned one yard gains into 10-15 yard gains. That just can’t happen.”
The Panthers freshman quarterback Keilon Parnell is a game-managing type of quarterback and doesn’t throw often, but when he does he is effective.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from D.I. Patrick Stadium.