GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - On Monday Vaughn-Wallace Stadium looked peaceful, but come Friday rivals Pascagoula and Gautier will take aim on each other and the winner secures the fourth and final playoff slot in the Region 4-5A ranks.
Gators head coach Chris Peterson has ammunition to fire-up his team. Not only is a playoff berth on the line, the Gators haven't beaten the Panthers in six years.
Peterson said, "This is a huge one to say the least. You've got two neighboring schools, same school district. So, it's kind of like our family competing against each other."
6-foot-4, 280 pound senior Gators offensive lineman and Mississippi State commitment, Paul Gainer #71 says Gautier is hungry, ready to end the Panthers win streak.
"There's going to be a lot of focus at practice today and carry out through the week, "Gainer said. "Like you say it's a big game, haven't beaten them since 2009."
The Gators offensive line led by Gainer has been opening running lanes for Deandre Torrey. The 5-foot-9, 190 pound senior has plowed over and around would be tacklers for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Torrey said, "I have a great offensive line. All credit goes to them. I just follow the hole they make."
Coach Peterson said, "Torrey is compactly built. He's very fast, very athletic and he's got a very high football IQ. He's a tremendous talent."
What does the Pascagoula game mean to Torrey?
"It means everything, "stated Torrey. "We've been preparing for this game forever really. We wouldn't want it no other way."
Torrey is elated having Gainer blocking the opposition in the trenches and Gainer enjoys opening up those running lanes for Torrey.
Gainer said, "We grew up together. We've been boys forever. I eat at his house and he eats at my house. We've brothers."
A Gautier win over Pascagoula and you can bet Gainer and Torrey will enjoy sharing a big meal after the game.
The Pascagoula-Gautier Region 4-5A clash will be one of the featured games on the Friday Night Football Showdown on WLOX ABC-CBS beginning 10:15 p.m.
Coach Peterson has nothing but respect for the Panthers. He said, "Coach Sims and his staff do a tremendous job. They've got a good football team. They've got two outstanding running backs and a big offensive line."
Javarous Walker and Reginald Hunter give Pascagoula a one-two punch at running back and if the Gators or to beat the Panthers, Gautier must keep Walker and Hunter in check.