by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com

Finally, the 1975 Pass Christian Pirates are celebrated for their many accomplishments in the program’s football history.

A signature plaque was donated to the Pass Christian School District on December 13, 2022 by benefactors of the 1975 team, including former NFL standout and Pass High Alum Gene Lang, Kevin Antoine, Joseph Piernas, Myron Cook, Earl Conway, Jr., Aaron Swanier, Ricky Scarborough, Patrick Frederick, all of the coaches, players, managers who were part of this nostalgic memory.

“When I was coming up, all I wanted to do was play for Pass High,” said Lang, who was best known for his six year NFL career with the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. Lang’s older brother was a member of the 1975 Pirates. “It was all because of this team, a lot of love was put into this plaque.”

Even though they were not “perfect” during the season, they are the only Pirates team to win 10 games, only time in school history to play in two bowl games, and the last time winning a conference championship.

Before the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) was created to compete for state championships in 1981, different regions of the state played in conference titles and Pass Christian was a member of the Pascagoula River Conference with eight teams. This era was a hotbed for Mississippi Prep Bowl Games that divided championships among the Central, Delta, and Coastal Zones.

The Pirates won back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975 under legendary head coach Bob Rogers.

The 1975 team finished 10-1, only allowing eight points per game and shutout Notre Dame plus St. Stanislaus Catholic high schools. Holding every team, except three to single digits, the Pirates enjoyed a scoring total of over 25 points per game.

The highlight of the season after finishing undefeated was beating the George County Rebels in the Oil Bowl 20-7 and winning their tenth game, which remains the most in the history of the football program.

A few members of the 1975 team spoke at the school district meeting about this nostalgic moment, including Kevin Antoine, Tim Ladner, Kevin Gallagher, Joseph Piernas, and others who each spoke of the camaraderie of this team.

“It was exciting to be a part of the team, even as a non-player,” expressed Piernas, former Pass Christian Alderman and Manager of the 1975 team. “A lot of the team members still stay in touch with one another. Like they say, ‘Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate.”

After the season was over, November 21, 1975 and their only defeat to Stone 17-7 in the Pickle Bowl, the Pass Christian Pirates finished 11th ranked in the state among the Associated Press final polls.

Playing in two bowl games was an honorable feat, as Pass Christian had never done that before.

All Pascagoula River Conference Team players for Pass Christian were: Oren Parker, Hilton Ray, Otis Woods, Aaron Swanier, and Derl Lang.

The plaque will honor each player mentioning their names, numbers, managers, coaches, and benefactors as the most dominant team in the program’s football history