by Hunter Dawkins
In Friday’s district game at the Francis McDonald Stadium, the Vancleave Bulldogs football team knocked off the host Pass Christian Pirates by a score of 40-28. The Pirates had three turnovers in the District 8-4A game, which they have yet to win.
With a chance to take the lead inside the red zone in the fourth quarter, the Pass Christian (2-5, 0-2) Pirates did not convert four plays, turned the ball over on downs and gave the Vancleave Bulldogs (3-3, 1-1) a momentum swing. The Bulldogs marched down the field, scored one final touchdown to make it a 40-28 edge and the rest is history.
“We came out and played great in the second half, the best we have all season,” said Pass Christian Head Football Coach Chase Carmody. “Our kids fought hard, that’s the hardest we fought all year.”
The first half was rocky for the Pirates, as the Bulldogs took home the third play of the game on a 40-yard scamper for a touchdown from running back Dayan Bilbo. With a two point conversion being good, Vancleave took an early 8-0 lead with 11:01 left in the first quarter.
Pass Christian had two bad possessions with a muffed punt and an interception, which led to a quarterback sneak from Vancleave’s quarterback Christian Kell for another score with under 2 minutes in the quarter. As the extra point was blocked, the Bulldogs lead increased to 14-0.
The Pirates junior quarterback Kameron White showed why he has excelled in track for the last few seasons.
White used his balance and arm for a touchdown before the quarter was over and put the Pirates on the scoreboard with a goal line touchdown run. After the Pass Christian Pirates placekicker Davon Klein converted the extra point, the new score was 14-7; Vancleave lead with 4.3 seconds left.
Pass High’s play caller managed a majority of the Pirates offense, finishing with 186 passing yards and 88 rushing yards. The junior quarterback scored all four Pass Christian touchdowns on the ground.
Vancleave marched right back, as Kell found Bilbo on a 28 yard touchdown pass and the Bulldogs converted the two point conversion with 8:02 left in the half, the new score was 22-7.
Recovering on the Bulldogs multiple attempts at onside kicks, the Pirates did not go away and put together a drive where White dove in from two yards. Klein’s extra point brought Pass back within a one score game at 22-14.
Immediately, Kell propelled the Bulldogs offense down the field for the final score before halftime 28-14; Vancleave lead.
Coming out of the gates the Pirates forced a five and a half minute drive with White finishing on a 5 yard touchdown run. Following Klein’s PAT, the new score was 28-21 at 6:45 left in the the third quarter.
The Pirates defense; which had been run over a decent amount in the first half, stopped the Bulldogs again as Pass Christian Senior Will McGuire made a third down tackle-for-loss.
When the Pirates received the ball from the punt, Pass Christian’s offense immediately jumped on Vancleave with Receiver LaShaun Laneaux grabbing a 26 yard pass from White. A few hard count penalties against the Bulldogs and the Pirates officially tied the game after a 2 yard scamper from White and the PAT at 3:52 left in the third quarter.
Despite the 28-28 tie and the momentum favoring Pass Christian, this would be the last Pirates score.
Once the Bulldogs collected the ball, Kell bolted down the sideline for a long run and an eventual touchdown from the Bulldogs running back John Peterson. With the two point conversion failing again, the end of the quarter score would be 34-28.
“That’s a good football team over there,” said Carmody about the Vancleave Bulldogs after the game. “Our football team this week is a lot better than they were last week and we need to keep that going every week.”
The Pass Christian Pirates finished with 307 yards total offense. Laneaux led the receivers with 5 receptions for 91 yards, but Thomas Gorman had 4 catches for 50 yards.
Defensively, Linebacker Xavian Chamberlain wound up with 15 total tackles and two tackles for loss while Senior Defensive End Montrell McGowan made 9 stops, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble. Michael Ezell recovered the fumble in the fourth quarter.
Pass High will host its final regular season game next Friday against the 2020 District 8-4A Champion Moss Point Tigers at 7pm.