The Hattiesburg Tigers (5-0) travel down Highway 49 Friday night to face the Stone Tomcats (1-3) at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The Tigers opened region play with a 40-13 victory over the Gautier Gators last Friday. The Tigers struggled to get things going early in the game and relied heavily on their defense and special teams to make big plays. Hattiesburg scored touchdowns on an attempted onside kick and a blocked punt. The defense also had a fumble recovery and an interception.
“Special teams were huge for us,” Head Coach Tony Vance said. “We weren’t clicking on all cylinders, but good teams find a way to win. We found a way to win with [special teams].”
Last Friday was the first time the Tigers did not have a 100 yard rusher all season. However, senior receiver Darius Ruffin picked up the slack with his best game of the season so far with four catches for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We try to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers and let them make big plays,” Vance said. “He played well for us and came up big Friday night.”
Stone won their first game of the season last Friday against regional opponent West Harrison 56-13. The Tomcats are a run first team averaging over 200 yards a game on the ground. Quarterback Ian Flurry has completed one pass for 78 yards for a touchdown and has thrown an interception in four games this season.
“It’s going to start with our defensive front,” Vance said. “When those guys come out to play, they make it difficult on anyone. We can’t allow [Stone] to play on our side of the ball.”
Kickoff is set for 7 pm from A.L. May Memorial Stadium on Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s campus.