by Hunter Dawkins & Calvin Ishee

Every fan received their money’s worth in the inaugural Oyster Bowl at Lumpkin Magee Field in Long Beach Thursday night.  With a last second attempt, Long Beach Bearcats quarterback Cade Crosby was intercepted by Pass Christian Pirates defensive back Dylan Necaise for Pass Christian to secure the victory 34-31.

Despite the rowdy raucous toward the end, this game was back and forth until the end with both teams putting their best.

“Long Beach played hard and we are very excited to bring this win back home,” said Pass Christian High School Football Coach Casey Wittmann.  “The Oyster Bowl was a longtime Pass Christian tradition, so we are certainly excited that it’s going back with us.”

The first half was all about the defense, as neither team scored until Bearcats Crosby tossed a 13-yard strike to wide receiver Logan Matherne with 7:39 left in the half.  Kicker/Safety Kai Van Court converted his first extra point to set the early lead to 7-0.

Possessions were switched a few times with Pass Christian linebacker Reese Gorman recovering a fumble at the Bearcats 20-yard line to turnaround with Bearcats safety Van Court stripping the football with 3:39 left in the half.

Pirates running back Gordon Ward dove in from 6 yard for Pass Christian’s first touchdown.  Reis Baughman converted the extra point for the 7-7 tie.

Quickly pushing the ball downfield, the Bearcats setup a 43-yard field goal by Van Court that went through the uprights with 16.6 seconds left to make the halftime score 10-7 Long Beach lead.

The Pass Pirates came out of the gates to start the third quarter, as quarterback Dustin Allison threw a 70-yard strike to turn the lead after the extra point conversion 14-10 with 10:09 left.

Long Beach turned right around to deliver a punch with Crosby again catching Matherne on a 23 yard throw.  Once Van Court converted with 6:21 left in the third quarter, the new score was 17-14.

Attempting to put some cushion on the lead, Crosby hit Matherne for a 30-yard touchdown.  The two point conversion failed this time, which left a 23-14 lead with 3:24 left.

Pirates quarterback Allison turned on some energy, scoring from 6-yards with 1:23 left in the third quarter and diving in from 5-yards with 10:36 left in the game for a 28-23 lead, as the Pirates scored on every possession.

Having one last drive in them, Long Beach quarterback Crosby delivered a 50-yard touchdown strike to receiver Jersey Foxworth with 9:19 left.  Crosby dove in for the two-point conversion to give the Bearcats the 31-28 lead.

Driving down the field, Pass Christian Running Back Gordon Ward punished three defenders, as he dove in for a touchdown with 6:32 left.  The extra point failed leaving the score 34-31 Pass Christian Pirates.

Time of possessions were succumbed to penalties for most of the final six minutes, as Long Beach tried for one last hurrah.

“Pass Christian played their tails off,” said Long Beach High School Football Coach Philip Pigott.  “Their kids were playing hard, great tackle after tackle.  We’ve got to learn from this and grow from this experience.”

Statistics will be published in next week’s edition.

The Gazebo Gazette would like to thank both cities and school districts for their help.  This was a fantastic football game and the newspaper was proud to be the inaugural sponsor.