News 25 Game of the Week Preview: Gulfport looking to break playoff hex

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On the eve of the first round of the class 6A playoffs Gulfport is dealing with a split personality, one defined by regular season domination and post-season heartbreak.

Fresh off their third straight region 4 championship, all eyes are on the Admirals and their 23 game winning streak against district opponents.

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For whatever the reason, the one-seed hasn’t done much to help Gulfport get out of the first round in recent years. The Admirals are 0-7 in their last seven playoff openers with their last post-season victory coming in 2010.

On Friday, Gulfport will look to break that curse against George County, home to the state’s top recruit in four-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson. Gulfport Head Football Coach John Archie said, “Its playoffs. We’ve kind of got the message across. We win or go home. It’s a do or die mentality and we’ve got to survive and that’s kind of been our approach all this week. We’ve got to change our name and get our name out there that Gulfport is one of the premier programs in the state, and I think that starts tomorrow night.”

Gulfport Left Tackle J.T. Zakkak said, “The past few years it’s been known that Gulfport goes out. We win the region, dominate and then we go out in the first round. And then we have the stigma the Coast is a joke, but this year we want to change that. This, the team – out of all the teams we’ve had – this is the team to go far in the playoffs and show them what we’re about.”

The Admirals and visiting Rebels will kick things off from Gulfport’s Milner Stadium at 7 p.m. tomorrow. George County is the four-seed from region 3.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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