by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/AP Member – editor@thegazebogazette.com

From the start of the game, the energy at West Harrison High School Stadium in Gulfport was electric and the Hurricanes crowd got an upset over the George County Rebels 50-49 in overtime.  Although the Rebels have yet to win this season, the victory was the first district victory at home for West Harrison since 2013.

Following a fumble from George County Quarterback Deuce Knight with under a minute to tie the game at 43-43, the Hurricanes (4-1, 1-1) didn’t produce any offensive rhythm pushing the game to overtime.  

West Harrison got the ball first in the overtime series, sticking to the ground game the Hurricanes had orchestrated nearly 400 yards on the night.  The Hurricanes were not successful and penalized from an offensive holding call.

Fourth down and 15, West Harrison Quarterback Brady Martin threw his only touchdown pass for the night to Tight End Brooks Queen to put the ‘Canes up 50-43 in overtime after Placekicker Landon Cox converted his extra point.

Immediately, Knight took the shotgun snap and jolted through the middle for a 10-yard touchdown scamper for a 50-49 score.  This happened to be the final score when the extra point attempt sailed wide left to give West Harrison the victory.

“I am so proud of these guys, God be to glory, we talked about finishing and they certainly did tonight,” expressed West Harrison High School Head Football Coach Quincy Patrick.  “Our running backs and offensive line coaches are fantastic coaches that the kids love and the staff does a great job.  We’ve been here before and our kids are built for it.”

The action of the game started quickly as the Hurricanes recovered a pooch kick and on the second play, West Harrison Running Back Javon McCalebb ran towards the side corner of the end zone for a 28 yard touchdown.  With Cox’s important first point after conversion, the score was immediately 7-0 with 11:19 left in the first quarter.  

Five plays later, the Rebels came through, jetting in a ten yard touchdown run off tackle.  The extra point was blocked for a 7-6 score as West Harrison clung to the lead.

The Hurricanes countered with four consecutive touchdowns on the ground before halftime, two from running back Jeremy Jones, and one each from West Harrison tailbacks McCalebb and Trey Harris for a 35-21 lead at the half.

A new George County team came out of the gates, scoring two unanswered third quarter touchdowns and a two point conversion for a 36-35 lead after three.

Getting the ball during the first possession of the final quarter, West Harrison Running Back Trey Harris pushed through, scoring on a 38-yard touchdown run after an eleven play drive.  With the ‘Canes finishing a two-point conversion, they took the lead back 43-36.

Following a lengthy kickoff return, Knight ran the first play from 28 yards for a touchdown.  As the Rebels chose to kick the extra point, the game was tied 43-43 with 5:55 left in the game.

Despite the Hurricanes ground game being successful for the night, the next possession didn’t turn out well as West Harrison turned the ball over on downs in their own territory with 3:25 left in the game.  Knight drove the Rebels down the field nine plays inside the red zone before fumbling.

Although Martin was rarely used at the quarterback position, he threw for 60 yards on 3/6 passing completions and tossed the game winning touchdown.  West Harrison three running backs combined for 388 yards and 6 touchdowns with Harris leading the team rushing gaining 180 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, McCalebb finishing with 144 yards on 16 attempts and two scores, and Jones plowing 61 yards on 17 carries and 2 goal line crosses.  

Harris additionally had a two point conversion while Cox was perfect converting six extra points.

Knight led George County with 247 yards passing, one touchdown, and 55 yards rushing.  He had 3 rushing touchdowns for the Rebels.

Before the game, Taylor Hopgood and Maverick Johnson were name West Harrison High School 2022 Homecoming Queen and King.  In 14 years since the inauguration of the high school, these four wins are tied for the second most in the history of the program.

West Harrison will play at Gautier High School Friday, October 7, 2022.  Under MHSAA rules, all Friday night high school football games will start at 7pm for the rest of the season.