OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Not a lot of coaches would consider a 24-23 overtime loss as being whipped, but that actually could be an accurate description of the Ocean Springs Greyhounds' defeat at the hands of the Harrison Central Red Rebels last week.
The Greyhounds averaged 226 yards on the ground per game and were undefeated through seven games leading up to the matchup with the Red Rebels.
"We've had a good run. We really have," Ocean Springs head coach Ryan Ross said. "Harrison Central, they whipped us. They played harder than we did. They deserved to win but fortunately we get to try this again this week, correct some mistakes and get our guys ready to play.
Ocean Springs was held to just 82 rushing yards in its first loss of the 2014 season.
Harrison Central (5-4, 1-3) was winless in region 4-6A play prior to the road victory. The Red Rebels were led by the coast's leading rusher, Dwayne Barnett, who compiled 165 yards and now has 1,246 rushing yards this season.
Ocean Springs (7-1, 3-1) won't have an easy time this week, either. The Greyhounds will face the St. Martin Yellow Jackets, which is a team coming off a 35-28 overtime win over Biloxi.
"We had a wake up call last week," Greyhounds senior defensive back Marcus Buckley said. "I think we're going to go over there and play hard. We had two practices the whole week and we did pretty good."
"We're just 5-10 minutes away from those guys," Ocean Springs junior linebacker Vincent Milanese said. "We grew up with them. I grew up with Tyler Polk and I wish him the best. It's just really exciting and you're ready for that Friday night game."
Polk is out for the season with a torn meniscus but St. Martin (6-3, 2-2) still has multiple offensive weapons that would favor them if the game was an offensive battle. If points come at a premium, Ocean Springs would have the edge.
"They've got the best defense we've seen on film," St. Martin head coach Eddie Whitehead said. "They're very physical. They fly to the football, they've got some good players and they do a really good job."
Sophomore quarterback Wayne Overman III is third among coast quarterbacks with 1,950 passing yards. St. Stanislaus sophomore Myles Brennan has 3,059 passing yards, while Hancock senior Chase Fagan is in second with 1,986.
Overman III has players like Niecill McNair, Tyheem Weldy and Jacorey Williams to which he can deliver the football.
"Everybody wants to see a really good game," Overman III said. "I feel like both of our teams are very well coached and very well disciplined in every way so I feel like it's going to be a good game and a lot of people are going to want to see us."
Since the two schools are so close to each other, St. Martin's home game might sound like Ocean Springs is hosting a game if the Greyhounds score a few early touchdowns. Either way, this rivalry game should be a good one considering the serious playoff implications.
St. Martin will face Harrison Central and D'Iberville (5-4, 2-2) in the final two weeks of the regular season, while Ocean Springs will match up with Gulfport (5-4, 3-1) and Hattiesburg (6-3, 4-0).
"We want this place rockin'," Whitehead said. "We know the crowd is going to be really good. They're going to be fired up."