by Dave Schroeder - www.twitter.com/GulfSportsDave
This week's Domino's High School Player of the Week is a difference maker.
In his return from ankle injury, Moss Point quarterback Joe Kirkland led the Tigers to a 52-26 win over East Central last Friday.
Previously, the Tigers had been outscored 113-8 during Kirkland's absence due to injury.
"It was kind of hard, sitting out 2 games, especially as a senior," said Kirkland.
After Kirkland endured a high-ankle sprain in Moss Point's opener against George County, the Tigers were left with a gaping hole in their offense under first year head coach Kevin Jackson.
"We really got accustomed to having Joe back there with his leadership ability and skills," said Jackson. "He was a major part of our offense, and to lose him was really frustrating."
The intangibles are what coach Jackson marvels at the most.
Even amidst the injury, Kirkland displayed his leadership, and eagerness to return to the gridiron.
"He was really frustrated. Since the first days since he got that injury, he was coming to me, 'Coach I'm going to be ready this Friday, I'm going to be ready next Friday.'" Jackson said.
And when it finally came time for Kirkland to start against East Central, in the region opener no less...
"We were just ready to play ball, just ready, just ready," Kirkland said.
The Tigers were ready for the game, but no one, on either side, was ready for the onslaught that was about to begin.
"It shocked me, my defense came out, we returned a kick, then I came out. We drove the ball and in about 2 plays I threw a touchdown. I was like 'Woah!'" Kirkland said.
Moss Point jumped out in front of the undefeated Hornets 31-0 in the first quarter alone.
Kirkland threw 4 touchdown passes and re-established moss point as a favorite in region 4-5A.
"We told ourselves we couldn't lose no more," Kirkland said.
"He does the right thing on and off the field. If we had 22 more like him, it would make our coaching job a whole lot easier," Jackson said.
This week, Kirkland's Tigers play host to West Harrison.