The Stone High football team's defense and special teams stood tall when called upon in Friday's 20-3 Region 4-5A victory over visiting George County.
The defense bent, but never broke, in keeping the Rebels out of the end zone and allowing just a third-quarter field goal as the offense sputtered at times.
The Tomcats (3-3 overall, 2-0 Division) produced less than 200 yards of total offense, yet still managed to put the ball in the end zone twice.
Justin Smith scored the winning points when he vaulted over the Rebels defense to cap a 10-yard scoring play to open the second quarter.
He scored again at the end of a six-play 48-yard scoring drive to open the second half.
The drive was set up by a tremendous kick return by Omareon Calloway that gave the Tomcats the ball at the George County 48-yard line.
Smith scored that TD on another dive over the end zone on first-and-goal from the 4-yard line.
Smith also returned a George County punt 53 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Those were the bright spots in a game during which the Stone offense looked - at times - inept at best.
Coach Adam Stone was not unhappy with the night's results.
"We beat George County for the third year in a row," he said. "I wasn't totally displeased. We did some things when we needed to do them."
Stone said the team needed to work on timing in its passing game.
After putting up 266 yards and three TDs in week 3 against Forrest County, the Stone air attack hasn't amassed 266 yards passing in the following three games combined.
Senior quarterback Clayton Johnson had just 32 yards passing Friday.
"We need to pay more attention to detail," Stone said.
That said, Stone was very impressed with the way his defense played against the Rebels.
Stone Defenders registered 52 solo tackles and 47 assists, deflected or knocked down nine pass attempts, recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass.
Calloway and Zac Syverson came in for high praise.
"They surprised me with how well they played," Stone said.
All things considered, the Tomcats are in a good spot six weeks into the season.
"We're tied for first place," he said. "The only other teams at 2-0 are Pascagoula and Picayune and they play Friday, so one of them is going to have a loss."