HATTIESBURG — Greenville Christian School quarterback DJ Smith had heard the doubters all week long, and on Friday night he and his Saint teammates once again put them to silence as GCS went on the road and defeated the top ranked team in the state, Oak Grove, 48-41.
“All of us are dogs,” Smith said moments after the victory. “They were like ya’ll don’t have enough players because we only have 35. I promise you this — that I will go to war with these 35 guys any day. I don’t care who we are playing.”
The victory was the third huge statement that Greenville Christian has made this season, a statement that has now been heard all across the great state of Mississippi. The Saints opened up the season by thoroughly defeating both Madison Ridgeland-Academy and Jackson Prep, two teams long considered the gold standard of the Mid-south Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).
Now, the Saints have taken down one of the best, if not the best, teams in the Mississippi public school division (MHSAA).
Smith put Greenville Christian up for good with a four-yard touchdown run with 9:26 left in the fourth quarter. Smith later scored the games final points on another four-yard run with five minutes left in the game, but the Saints would fail on the two-point conversion leaving their lead at just eight points.
Many of the Saints were cramping in the later stages of the game, but they always got back up and back in the fight.
“I am proud of how we overcame adversity,” Smith said. “My team needed me so I had to fight through it and be the dog that I am. We got something to prove. Since we lost to Collins Hill, everyone thought we weren’t going to win, but we showed them that we are a bunch of players who are hungry and who are ready to play.”
The game between Oak Grove started out slowly and the game was still scoreless after the first quarter, but both offenses lit up the scoreboard in the second quarter combining for 53 total points and a Oak Grove 27-26 lead.
A big touchdown play in the second quarter came with 3:34 left until the half when Smith connected with wide receiver Chris Bell on a 77-yard touchdown pass. Bell also had a 65-yard touchdown pass to put the Saints on the scoreboard for the first time with 7:51left in the second quarter.
The Saints are hoping to play their first home game of the season this Friday when they take on the Riverside Bulldogs.
“Our goal has been to constantly to give our kids the best competition that we can find,” Coach Jon Reed McLendon said. before the game “I know a lot of people are wondering just how good are compared to the best public schools. Oak Grove is a 6A school and is ranked as the best team in the state. We see it as a great challenge, and we don’t think we have anything to lose.”