The Stone High Tomcats football team’s season got off to an ugly start last Friday.
The Gulfport Admirals beat the Tomcats in every aspect of the game to take a 48-13 victory in the 2019 Port City Bowl at Milner Stadium.
Stone’s first two drives ended with punts while the third ended with an intercepted pass and Gulfport scored on its first three possessions to take a 20-0 lead with 2:57 left in the first quarter. It would prove to be all the points the Admirals would need on the night.
Not that they didn’t keep pressing. Gulfport would score twice more before the Tomcats finally got on the board with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter when Triston Kickman hit Kaleb Gilner with a 20-yard touchdown pass.
“We’ve got to have more of a team effort,” said coach John Feaster of a team which had trouble generating offense and an equal amount of trouble stopping its opponents offense.
Tomcat running backs were often met in the backfield by Admiral defenders and, when Stone attempted to pass the ball, it was regularly dropped by receivers.
Through the first three quarters, eight Stone passes fell incomplete, one was intercepted and another hit a lineman.
The Tomcats did score on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
To be fair, Stone only has two offensive lineman who had seen game action before Friday night.
Zach Bond and Brennan Hull are trying to anchor an offensive line which is missing starter Tytan Lee because of an injury.
“They’re going to be alright,” Feaster said. “It’s going to come down to us coaching harder and playing harder.”
The coaching staff knew going into the game they had a young and relatively untested defense.
“We’ve got some good kids and we’re going to be okay,” Feaster said.