BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Most high school football teams on the coast begin their season Friday night. The St. Patrick Fighting Irish lost to Presbyterian Christian in a season opener for a second consecutive year 45-13 Thursday night.
One of the most intriguing matchups this week will take place at Harrison Central High School between the homestanding Red Rebels and the Stone Tomcats.
Both teams are coming off playoff berths in 2013 and are expected to be in the thick of things yet again.
Harrison Central and Stone squared off in last year's season opener with the Red Rebels winning in Perkinston 21-7.
The Tomcats aren't usually fast starters in non-region games, which was evident after recording just one win in their first four games last season. However, Stone ripped off four consecutive wins after that and eventually lost in the playoffs to 5A south state finalist Laurel.
"They have some true athletes and they have some every year," senior running back Dwayne Barnett said. "If we execute what we need to execute, we should come out with a victory Friday."
Harrison Central's offense will look slightly different since quarterback Byron Walker is out for the year, but in steps Tavis Williams, who will go under center for head coach Steve Jones.
"It's kind of a rivalry game, but I guess with Harrison Central, you can have a few teams considered as your rivals," Jones said. "Stone is right up the road from us. A lot of our kids know their kids. They had a jamboree Friday night and we watched that. They've got a lot of good athletes, they had a really good spring, so it's going to be a challenge. They have a lot better team than they did last year."