MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - For our 15th team of our Preseason Gridiron series, we had to take the long drive on I-10 over to the Tigers Den.
Moss Point hasn’t had a winning record since 2015. Yes, they are 5-time state champs, but the last time they had a title, NONE of the current players on the roster were born!
The Tigers enter 2020 as the reigning Region 8-4A champs and look to build off that momentum.
“Man, practice was lit man. We had our best practice in a long time today,” senior quarterback Ruben “Deuce” Lee told WLOX. “High energy, good discipline. We whoop some tail today!”
If you drive by the south side of Beardslee Lake, there’s a newfound confidence. A new swagger, if you will, in Moss Point. The Tigers are coming off their eighth consecutive playoff appearance, first postseason win since 2015, but more importantly, their first district championship in a decade.
“I mean we ain’t won that in a long time. We got the shirts made, got the ’ship bag, got some hats you know. It’s a pretty big deal because we haven’t had a winning season in a very long time,” Lee said. “A real big confidence booster for the team, for the players, coaches, and the community.
The success starts at the top with Eugene Harmon’s “All In” mentality when he became head coach in 2017, but he’s been grooming this group of Tigers for much longer.
“This senior class I was their head coach in the middle school as well, so they’ve been with me for now six years,”Harmon said. “They’ve built that progress and process all the way, so without them, we wouldn’t be where we’re at right now.”
One of the 12 seniors is undoubtedly one of, if not the best signal caller on the Gulf Coast. Ruben “Deuce” Lee spearheads a Tiger offense that returns all but one starting offensive lineman and two 1,000-yard receivers in Larry Simmons - who’s been receiving division one offers as a junior - and Chanton Millender.
“They bring a sense of relaxation. Guys that’s experienced, guys that you can lean on. Guys that you can call anytime of the night to say hey man let’s just go throw man. I’m not feeling good right now, I just need to get away from everything, I just need to go throw,” Lee expressed.
“To have that in the game? Have two of them in the game? It’s like cheating. Honestly, we’re about to put on a show this year.”
The Tigers defensive line was gutted by graduating seniors and Coach Harmon will now look towards his secondary to provide veteran leadership.
“We lost pretty much everyone on our defensive line. We’ve got two guys coming back on the D-Line. We lost three linebackers out of that group. I told them they’re going to have to carry us in the beginning until we get those guys ready to play,” Harmon said. “The linebackers, they’ve showed up and are ready to go. Still have a couple of guys we need to find on the defensive line. Overall, that defensive back group has to carry us.”
Moss Point’s past has been staring them in the face the last 20 years. Unable to attach the words “state champion” in front of their name like they did for most of the ’90s and early 2000s. The Tigers are ready to add to the legacy and end the drought.
“We look at that spot on the wall. We’ve got five state championship posters up on the wall in the weight room. They all talk about, we’re going to be up there next. The senior class has been saying that since day one,” Harmon said.
“Through COVID, they’ve continued to work on their own and build on their own. They are really locked in on putting their team up on that wall.”
The Tigers motto for this season revolves around the six C’s: Commitment, Consistency, and a Competitiveness that will Cultivate to Create Championships. Hopefully bringing in the program’s sixth gold ball.
Moss Point will play host to Ocean Springs September fourth at 7 p.m.