OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs Greyhounds (9-1, 5-1) took part in Thursday's walkthrough knowing they'll go to the playoffs regardless of the result against the Hattiesburg Tigers (6-5, 4-2) on Friday.
A region 4-6A title would be nice, but it doesn't always equal postseason success. Three of the last four champions from 4-6A have lost in the first round of postseason play.
The exception was in 2011 when Biloxi lost in the second round to Petal.
It hasn't been a sure thing, but Ocean Springs believes they have a strong enough defense to bite into that trend.
We just have to play physical and make sure we run to the ball every play," senior linebacker Blake Windham said. "Just do what we usually do and play hard."
"[We have to] come out and play Ocean Springs football," senior cornerback Isaiah Swopes said. "Compete every single play 100 percent. Give 100 percent."
Hattiesburg started region play with four straight wins but have lost back-to-back games against Hancock and D'Iberville. The Tigers feature a young backfield and should be contenders for at least the next two years.
They're already here, though. With a win and a D'Iberville loss to St. Martin, Hattiesburg can win the district title.
"There are a bunch of great teams in this region and it's always a tough week every week," junior linebacker Vincent Milanese said. "But just to be here and this game tomorrow, it's going to be a great thing."
Tigers sophomore quarterback Julian Conner has completed 52% of his passes with 23 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions. He can run the football as well, but a good chunk of the ground game goes to sophomore running back Xavier Yancey, who ran for 110 yards last week despite losing 35-0 to D'Iberville.
"They're really good," Milanese said. "They're just raw athletes. They move and it's hard to keep them down. You just have to make sure you do your job or they're going to bust one on you."
The Greyhounds can finish as high as No. 1 in the region or as low as No. 3.