GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The rushing attack for the Gulfport Admirals has helped them earn a shot to win the region 4-6A title this Friday against the Ocean Springs Greyhounds.
Despite a season-low 88 yards on the ground in a 13-12 win over the Harrison Central Red Rebels two weeks ago, Gulfport (7-2, 5-0) stormed back with 261 rushing yards in a 35-17 victory over the D'Iberville Warriors.
Deon Cole is known to be the physical runner in Gulfport's backfield. The senior led the Admirals with 169 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns against D'Iberville.
Sophomore Larazzo Shugart is Cole's complement, using his smaller frame and outstanding speed to pick up 57 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in the same game.
"My offensive line has done a great job this year," Cole said. "Our whole team has done a tremendous job this year and we've opened a lot of eyes."
Gulfport made everyone aware of their capabilities when they pulled off a 28-10 win over the favored St. Martin Yellow Jackets September 25. That night, Cole surpassed the 100-yard mark again and averaged 13.7 yards per carry.
The offensive line, which features left tackle Nicholas Dunomes, left guard Gage Purvis, center Stephon Cooper, right guard Jack Allen and right tackle Travis Frost Jr., has helped the Admirals gain nearly 2,000 yards in nine games.
When junior quarterback Cleveland Ford throws the football, his favorite target is clearly Alton Conerly. The senior also plays defense, but leads the team with 612 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches.
Conerly mirrored Cole's remarks when revealing the source for success on offense.
"I have to credit the offensive line and Cleveland Ford," Conerly said. "Without them, I can't get the ball. The offensive line is a tough position to play and they do it every play. That's pretty nice. I can't thank them enough."
The last three matchups between Ocean Springs (8-1, 5-0) and Gulfport have been decided by an average of seven points. The winner of this game will clinch the district title and represent region 4-6A as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.