Ocean Springs at Northwest Rankin 26.JPG

Ocean Springs quarterback Brayson Hubbard.

No. 6: Ocean Springs Greyhounds

Head Coach: Blake Pennock

2021 Record: 11-1 (Class 6A Second Round)

Starters Returning: Offense: 7 Defense: 7

Players to Watch: QB Bray Hubbard; WR J.P. Coulter; WR Christian White; LB Keyshawn Thomas; LB Eric Moore; LB Trace Carter; DL Talan Carter.

Coach Speak: “At the beginning of my time here, it was always about closing the gap between our program and those teams. I think we are right there. But those teams have been at the top and doing it a certain way for a long time. So from our standpoint, understanding the margin for error becomes much smaller the higher you climb so we have been working on taking care of the smaller details, making sure we are doing the little things right. Obviously last year, our offense was pretty explosive.  I think we had a mixture of the perfect ingredients to be really good.  That picture will change a little this year with a couple of new faces, but we have always been able to adapt and find a way to put a bunch of points on the board and I think we will be able to again. Bray makes our offense go. This is his third year as a starter in our offense. That is such a luxury to have. We are able to have conversations on the field and make adjustments that you don't get to do that with just any QB. We know he has all the skills in the world as a thrower and runner, but I'm looking for him to really step into that leadership role and be a guy our team looks to in tough situations and responds. I think that is the next evolution for him as a QB and I think he will do a great job with it. We lost three huge starters for us last year in David Humphries, Holton White and Evan Mcnally. Those are big pieces to fill but we have some capable guys battling for those spots right now and if we can have them step up then I think we will be pretty good on offense. Really excited about our defense this season. We will be more athletic on that side of the ball than we have since I've been here.  I'm looking forward to seeing our Defensive Line continue to mature and grow as I think we have a solid two deep of size and athleticism there that we haven't had since I have been here. We are moving some bodies around at the 2nd level, hoping those guys can gel and come together. They have a lot of ability so I think they will and replace two pieces in the secondary. If our defense can come together as a unit, I think they have a chance to be pretty good. One thing you can count on in our region is getting everyone's best shot. Teams are going to be very well coached and challenge you each week. In 6A, you are always going to have Oak Grove and Brandon as a major challenge. Gulfport returns a lot of talent from last year.  We kick our season off in Jackson with Clinton and we know they will always be in the mix as well being in a tough region with Starkville, Madison Central and Oxford,” Pennock said.

Outlook: The Greyhounds are coming off one of the program’s more successful seasons as they went 11-1 in 2021 and reached the second round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs and now under third-year head coach Blake Pennock it’s now time to make that next step. Ocean Springs brings back seven starters on offense that had a lot of firepower last season averaging 42.5 points per game. Quarterback and former Mr. Football for Class 6A Bray Hubbard returns to lead the offense after tossing for 2,016 yards with 30 touchdowns and had 1,138 yards rushing with 20 touchdowns. Two of his top targets return at receiver in J.P. Coulter (678 yards receiving, 10 touchdowns; 2 rushing touchdowns last season) and Christian White, who had 312 yards receiving, 4 touchdowns in 2021. Defensively the Greyhounds have seven starters back with front seven will be the strength. All three starters at linebacker are back in Keyshawn Thomas (67 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles in 2021), Trace Carter (51 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions last year) and Eric Moore. Defensive tackle Talan Carter returns to help lead the front seven. Secondary will be inexperienced in a couple spots, but very athletic.

Season Opener: Aug. 25 at Clinton.