The Pascagoula Panthers can relate to the path the Starkville Yellowjackets took to the Class 5A State championship game.
As Starkville defeated West Point 29-28 in overtime to gain revenge from a regular season 47-22 loss and win the North title, Pascagoula had to do that twice.
The Panthers (11-2) knocked off Picayune 27-10 and Pearl River Central 17-10 in the postseason to reach the State championship game after losing to both squads earlier. Pascagoula lost 49-10 to Picayune and 26-20 to Pearl River Central in the regular season.
The season began with five-straight victories for the Panthers before the loss to defending State champion Picayune, then they won four more in a row prior to the defeat at the hands of Pearl River Central.
Pascagoula defeated West Jones 38-6 to open the playoffs before beating Picayune and Pearl River Central back-to-back.
"These guys have come together at the right time and worked hard," Panthers coach Lewis Sims said. "They continue to be coachable, disciplined and listen to what we're doing. It's a fun group of guys to be around."
Pascagoula is led by quarterback Stacey Warren, who has completed 71-of-154 pass attempts for 957 yards and five touchdowns. He also has 123 carries for 809 yards on the ground with seven scores.
Kevin Scott is the second-leading rusher behind Warren with 95 carries for 664 yards and five touchdowns.
The main target for Warren this season has been Breland Hoye with 27 catches for 501 yards and four scores.