by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

With a cross-interstate rivalry that has become serious in all other sports, the West Harrison Hurricanes have only one win against the Long Beach Bearcats high school football team since their school creation in 2009 while playing them every year.  After the first quarter at the Lumpkin Magee Field Friday night in Long Beach, the Hurricanes made sure they would get another by earning a 42-12 dominating win.

“Kids played really hard,” said West Harrison Head Football Coach Quincy Patrick.  “They came in with a different mindset Monday and started the week out right.”

Leading 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, West Harrison (2-6, 1-4) scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to end the half with a comfortable 28-6 lead.

Although the Bearcats (0-7, 0-5) cut the lead by two possessions at the end of the third quarter with one touchdown, the Hurricanes finished the contest by scoring twice in the last 8 minutes.  Long Beach had no answer.

This was the first Region 4-5A win of the year for the Hurricanes, their first district win since 2013 (minus the pandemic forfeit), and West Harrison Senior Running Back Melvin Pickens eclipsing 1,000 rushing yards for the season.

Pickens is only the second Hurricanes player to ever do that behind former Alum Landon Dickerson two years ago.

Offensively, Pickens led all from the ground with 124 yards on 19 carries and four touchdowns.  The senior led receivers by catching two passes for 39 yards.  West Harrison sophomore Javon McCalebb also broke the century mark on the ground with 10 rushes for 100 yards and the other 2 touchdowns.

Senior Linebacker/Running Back Kolten Scott helped the Hurricanes on both sides of the ball, rushing for 33 yards, catching a pass for 16 yards, finishing with 9 tackles and 7 solo.  Fellow West Harrison Senior Luke Holland contributed 10 tackles.

The final home game of the season for West Harrison is Friday night against Vancleave in Gulfport while Long Beach plays on the road at Picayune Memorial High School.