PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - The Pass Christian High School Pirates have never had a successful football program. They haven’t had a winning season since 2001, and most of the players on this year’s roster weren’t even alive back then.
Yet, powered by a talented senior class, first-year head coach Blake Pennock has the Pirates sailing toward glory.
Expectations weren’t high for the Pirates this year.
They ended last year on a nine-game losing streak, losing their last four by a combined score of 127-14, which made what happened next all the more stunning.
The Pirates reeled off seven regular-season wins, and the crowds began roaring
Then the Pirates stole the second seed in the division after beating St. Stanislaus in the final week of the regular season.
It was a feat that many considered impossible just a few months ago, but then again, few expected Dustin Allison to become one of the best passers on the Gulf Coast, and perhaps the state.
“It felt great because coming off a 1 and 9 season last year, everyone doubted us," said Allison, senior quarterback.
The Pirates proved their doubters wrong as they captured a home playoff game and the opportunity to make history.
“I am looking around the room tonight and I still see the fire in your eyes to be able to take this team and to do what you’ve done and knock them out!” Pennock said.
Yet, it was Purvis who took it to the Pirates early.
Dominating defensively, the Tornadoes led 14-7 at halftime. Perhaps the Pirates of years past would have packed it in, but this year’s squad had other ideas.
They started feeding Huu Nguyen. The star runner averaged 7.9 yards a carry.
The offensive line, which struggled in the first half, started thriving, allowing Allison to find Dylan Necaise twice, the second putting them up 35-20.
The junior was all business with the celebration because he knew the game wasn’t over.
The Tornados drove the length of the field. Only a yard remained. 4th down, a Pirates stop would etch their names into the history books.
Walker Flatt rolling out to the right. Aden Purchner right in the young man’s face. He heaves this one and Reese Gorman jumps the route, and he comes down with it, earning the turnover chain and more importantly, closing out the game.
“Yeah, there was an abundance of emotion, especially on my part. Just because of senior year, big playoff game, we just wanted to all make history down here and really be that senior class that changed the culture around here, and I just think that a lot of emotions from years past came out right there. And I was just really happy, really excited," said senior middle linebacker Reese Gorman.
No historic moment would be complete without a Gatorade bath for the head coach.
The fifth time is the charm for the Pirates as they move to 1 and 4 in postseason play.
“Looking at the scoreboard it felt great man. The feeling was unmatchable. One of the top three moments of my life," said senior running back Huu Nguyen.
The Pirates will attempt to make more history Friday night as they attempt to hand South Pike their first loss of the year.
The Pirates matchup against the Eagles is one of the many playoff games set for Friday night.