From 2-20 to 5-1, Waves catching on

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

Before the season, the coaches of Division 6-3A picked Port Gibson to win the division title. Gary “Bo” Wright, who coached the team to a 2-20 record over the last two seasons, wondered what they were thinking.

Now, halfway through the season, any coaches that scheduled Port Gibson as a homecoming game this season must be wondering what they were thinking.

The Blue Waves, longtime doormats who won only two games the last three seasons, are off to a 5-1 start in 2000 and are looking like a legitimate threat to make the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

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“When you win two football games in three years, yeah, it’s a surprise. But I knew we were capable of it,” Wright said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s good for this school. They’re starting to believe in themselves.”

Wright’s good feelings are tempered by the tests that await his team. The Waves face their two biggest tests of the season without their best player.

Port Gibson travels to face Amite County on Friday, then goes to Wilkinson County Oct. 13 minus tailback Mason Denham.

Denham, a Division I prospect, broke his arm on a punt return early in the second quarter of a 27-0 win over Hinds AHS. The Blue Waves didn’t miss a beat, though, getting 163 yards and a score from Quentin Turner.

“I was real proud of the way they stepped up and played without (Denham),” Wright said. “They went over to him on the sideline, but they still kept their minds on football. And that’s the change in Port Gibson. The kids are thinking about football.”

Hinds AHS coach Jeff Gibson, who played and coached against Port Gibson at Wilkinson County, called this year’s version of the Waves “the best Port Gibson team I’ve seen in a long time.”

“I saw different type of character team. They seemed to want to win … ,” Gibson said. “It was almost refreshing to see that Port Gibson team come up again.”

The Waves have done it with defense. The offense has been sluggish at times, but the defense hasn’t allowed more than 18 points in a game. Even the one loss, 18-6 to Velma Jackson on Sept. 8, wasn’t a runaway.

“We’re playing tough football. We’re playing real good defense,” Wright said. “We’re not scoring as much or as often as we should have, but we’re wearing teams down by the fourth quarter … .”

Of course, that isn’t to say the offense hasn’t done its part. The multi-faceted attack led by Denham and quarterback Ocie Brown, who threw for three touchdowns against Hinds AHS, has produced.

“We had one of our best performances of the season, defensively, and we still couldn’t stop them,” Gibson said. Before the season, the coaches of Division 6-3A picked Port Gibson to win the division title. Gary “Bo” Wright, who coached the team to a 2-20 record over the last two seasons, wondered what they were thinking.

Now, halfway through the season, any coaches that scheduled Port Gibson as a homecoming game this season must be wondering what they were thinking.

The Blue Waves, longtime doormats who won only two games the last three seasons, are off to a 5-1 start in 2000 and are looking like a legitimate threat to make the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

“When you win two football games in three years, yeah, it’s a surprise. But I knew we were capable of it,” Wright said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s good for this school. They’re starting to believe in themselves.”

Wright’s good feelings are tempered by the tests that await his team. The Waves face their two biggest tests of the season without their best player.

Port Gibson travels to face Amite County on Friday, then goes to Wilkinson County Oct. 13 minus tailback Mason Denham.

Denham, a Division I prospect, broke his arm on a punt return early in the second quarter of a 27-0 win over Hinds AHS. The Blue Waves didn’t miss a beat, though, getting 163 yards and a score from Quentin Turner.

“I was real proud of the way they stepped up and played without (Denham),” Wright said. “They went over to him on the sideline, but they still kept their minds on football. And that’s the change in Port Gibson. The kids are thinking about football.”

Hinds AHS coach Jeff Gibson, who played and coached against Port Gibson at Wilkinson County, called this year’s version of the Waves “the best Port Gibson team I’ve seen in a long time.”

“I saw different type of character team. They seemed to want to win … ,” Gibson said. “It was almost refreshing to see that Port Gibson team come up again.”

The Waves have done it with defense. The offense has been sluggish at times, but the defense hasn’t allowed more than 18 points in a game. Even the one loss, 18-6 to Velma Jackson on Sept. 8, wasn’t a runaway.

“We’re playing tough football. We’re playing real good defense,” Wright said. “We’re not scoring as much or as often as we should have, but we’re wearing teams down by the fourth quarter … .”

Of course, that isn’t to say the offense hasn’t done its part. The multi-faceted attack led by Denham and quarterback Ocie Brown, who threw for three touchdowns against Hinds AHS, has produced.

“We had one of our best performances of the season, defensively, and we still couldn’t stop them,” Gibson said.