GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With the eyes of the entire state focused on Milner Stadium, including a visit from Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, Gulfport made their strongest statement to date. The Admirals (7-1, 4-0) out-dueled Harrison Central 42-21 Friday, handing the Red Rebels their first district loss, and staying to stay on the inside track for a second straight Region 4-6-A Championship.
“We had a lot of people on social media and stuff saying this and that," Gulfport senior quarterback T.Q. Newsome said. "So it was very important for us as a team to come together, believe in each other and realize that we came together and we bonded, executed the way we knew we can.”
The Admirals received contributions from up and down the roster, including senior defensive back Zae Crain, who hauled in his first two interceptions of the season in the victory.
“It feel good. When I first got the first one I was like, yes son, I got some picks now,” Cain laughed.
As a whole, the Admirals forced five turnovers in the win, keeping Harrison Central quarterback Dalyn Anderson at bay.
“It was very good," Crain said of the opportunistic defense. "That shortens (their) time out on the field, less time with (Anderson) with the football, so that was good. Less time with him and more time with T.Q. Newsome to do what he gotta do.”
The Southern Miss commit took advantage.
Newsome has proven himself as a true dual-threat quarterback all season, but truly shined through the air Friday night, completing 12 of 21 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
“They were forcing us to throw the ball, so that’s what we did," Newsome said. "My receivers came up big, they made some plays on the outside. It was a great game plan and effort from preparing in practice to our players coming out and executing.”
These two Player of the Week-worthy performances played a big part in keeping Gulfport atop the region standings, as the Admirals hope to keep rolling all the way into the playoffs.
“Just keep playing how we been playing. Together, fast and like a brotherhood,” Crain said.
The Admirals look to stay unbeaten in district play as they host D’Iberville (5-2, 3-1) this Friday.