BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 2017 high school football season officially hit the turf Thursday night in the Coast Kickoff Classic in Pass Christian where Long Beach defeated the Pirates 27-14.
Tonight all but two teams will kickoff the new season...East Central and Stone.
The Friday Night Football Showdown airs tonight at 10:15 on WLOX ABC-CBS with A.J. Giardina and Patrick Clay. Six games will be featured along with the scoreboard.
The Port City Bowl makes its debut at Milner Stadium with a doubleheader beginning at 5:30. Game one sends Harrison Central against Jeff Davis County. The Red Rebels will rely on senior running back Keon Moore. In 2016 Moore piled up 1,775 yards and 21 touchdowns. Chase Jones, who played tight end last season, takes over at quarterback this year.
Game two of the Port City Bowl pits George County and home standing Gulfport at 8:15 p.m. The Rebels and Admirals changed their offensive attacks to the Flex Bone. Defensively, Gulfport returns a solid unit that should help starting quarterback T.Q. Newsome.
All other games tonight begin at 7:00.
The Battle of the Cats takes the spotlight at Jerry Alexander Stadium in Moss Point. The home standing Tigers under new head coach Eugene Harmon battle arch-rival Pascagoula. Panthers head coach Lewis Sims is familiar with the rivalry. He played his high school football at Moss Point and later became the Tigers head coach before taking over the Panthers football program.
The Bay High Tigers and new head coach Benji Foreman travel to West Harrison. Both the Tigers and Hurricanes are trying to build competitive teams and a win tonight would help give the winning team confidence and momentum.
St. Stanislaus and Biloxi kickoff the Shrimp Bowl at Biloxi Stadium. Rockachaws new head coach Jeff Jordan makes his debut and it will be interesting to watch the new offense. Last season St. Stanislaus was loaded offensively with record setting quarterback Myles Brennan, just one of five Rockachaws who signed major college scholarships. Indians head coach Bobby Hall has Brodie King back at quarterback and a couple of game break running backs.
Resurrection head coach Scott Sisson has built the Eagles into a Class 1A power. He has 19 seniors on his 2017 team and they have enough talent to make another run to the State Championship game. The Eagles open the season on the road at Class 2A Perry Central.
In other games, Picayune travels to Poplarville. Last season the Maroon Tide lost to Laurel in the Class 5A South State championship game while the Hornets advanced to the Class 4A championship, only to lose. Picayune head coach Dodd Lee consistently fields championship caliber teams and Poplarville head coach Jay Beech has his Hornets flying in the right direction.
D'Iberville begins year two under head coach Eric Collins at Tylertown. Ocean Springs is on the road at Gautier. St. Martin lost key offensive players and have enough talent to make a run at the Class 6A playoffs. The Yellow Jackets face Forest Hill in Jackson County. Pearl River Central travels to Hancock.
St.. Patrick will attempt to end a 22-game losing streak at Snook Christian Academy. In 8-man football, Christian Collegiate Academy has a home game with Sharkey Issaquena Academy.
Get out and support your local high school football team!