25 Teams in 25 Days: Moss Point Tigers
Perhaps the best view on all of News 25’s ’25 Teams in 25 Days,’ Moss Point is lakeside, getting ready for the 2019 season. But the Tigers are more fixated on the view from inside the fieldhouse and the finishing touch that’s been missing for the better part of two decades.
Wide receiver Caleb Lee said, “When we look back at the greatest that Moss Point had, we kind of know that everybody that did it, we kind of want to be a part of it. So we hit right when we go hard. When we’re on the field we go hard, too.”
The waterfront practice field on the south side of Beardslee Lake is hardly a vacation for Moss Point. Rather, the Tigers are more of an interior design kind of football program.
Head Coach Wesley Harmon said, “Since I’ve been here, the only thing we talk about is that spot, that spot on the wall. And if you ask any of them that go in the weight room, they’re going to always point to that spot on the wall. That’s what we’re here for.”
The Tigers accumulated five gold balls starting in 1983 with continued dominance into the 90s. ’91, ’96, ’97, and then running through the year 2000 with a team picture to commemorate each state championship. Nineteen years later, here we are. “The time is now.”
“We want that spot. We tried to get it last year, but this year I feel like we have a better chance,” Lee said.
Cornerback Jadden Matthews said, “Who doesn’t want to be on that wall? I feel like we have something special this year and I feel like we have something to prove this year because people always doubting Moss Point and I feel like we’ve got something to show them this year.”
That outside hesitation stems from overall record more than Moss Point’s level of post-season success. The Tigers have been to the playoffs seven years in a row, but their only winning season during that stretch came in 2015 on a run to the class 4A quarterfinals.
Moss Point’s solution to that problem is first-year offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Ray Pickering, most recently from Hattiesburg, who also won the 5A state title with Laurel in 2014 in the same capacity.
“We got a new coach, right? And he comes from winning and we really kind of look up to him,” Lee said. “And we want to keep the legacy going that he’s got. Keep winning.”
Offensive Coordinator Ray Pickering said, “I’ve been to several programs and that’s the first thing that I come in preaching is winning. And then we’re able to piece it together and then the end in mind is state championship. I always tell them keep the end in mind. Keep the end in mind in everything that you do, and then that will outlast everything. And in the end, the end product is a state championship.”
Coach Pickering says he runs an up-tempo spread offense with a bunch of run-pass options and mis-directions.
The Tigers head into the 2019 season with 14 seniors as well as 14 returning starters, ready to kick things off at home against Pascagoula on August 23rd.