Hattiesburg used a fourth-quarter rally Friday to knock off St. Martin 20-10 at Barlow Stadium.
The Tigers, who didn’t get their first lead until there were seven minutes left in the game, remain unbeaten in Region 4-6A at 3-0 and improve to 3-4 overall after a their third straight win.
The Yellow Jackets dropped to 5-3 overal, 1-2 in region play.
“I told our kids all week that St. Martin is the scrappiest team that we have played all year,” Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said. “I can praise them for how they get after you on the football field.
“But I am proud of our guys for not giving up. Things were not going our way and they kept battling. They stepped it up in the end and the most important thing is we’re 3-0 in region play.”
Down 10-6 entering the fourth quarter, Hattiesburg took over on its 30-yard line. The Tigers responded with an 11-play drive behind the guidance of junior quarterback Tristin Walley, who completed two-of-four passes, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Woodard with seven minutes left in the game.
After a 2-point conversion on a pass from Walley to Aikeem Coleman, the Tigers had their first lead of the game at 14-12.
Defensively, the Tigers forced St. Martin to turn the ball over on downs with five minutes left in the game and sealed the win with a 38-yard scoring drive that ended with a short touchdown run by Xavier Yancey with 27 seconds left.
The Yellow Jackets, after missing a field goal on the first offensive possession, took a 7-0 lead when Niecill McNair returned a punt 81 yards at the 5:18 mark of the first quarter.
St. Martin forced a Tiger punt again on their second possession and took over with 1:24 left in the first quarter on its 18.
From there, the Yellow Jackets used a seven-play, 62-yard drive to take a 10-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Brennan O’Keefe with 11 minutes left in the first half.
The Tigers’ third possession of the game was a 3-and-out that resulted in a punt to the Yellow Jackets 35-yard line with nine minutes left in the half.
St. Martin looked primed to take control of the game with a 12-play drive that saw Polk rush for 18 yards and throw for 43-yards, before stalling out at the Tigers 3-yard line.
Facing a third-and-1 at the 3, Polk lost a yard before a fumble on fourth down left the ball at the 11-yard line with 2:31 left in the half.
Hattiesburg, with three first downs at this point in the game, drove 89 yards on six plays to trim the lead to 10-6. The drive’s biggest play was a 34-yard pass from Walley to Willie Hartfield.
“We were trying to run the clock down and score at the same time and go up 17-0 at halftime,” Whitehead said. “But we go up 10-6 and that was the difference in the ball game.”