By Robert Wilson
The sound of thunder you heard from South Mississippi Friday night was Pisgah’s Kyshaun Gates rumbling and running around and through the Loyd Star defense in the MHSAA Class 2A first round playoff game.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior running back, setting up in Pisgah’s “Thunder” package most of the night, gained a career-high 359 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns and had eight tackles on defense to lead Pisgah to a 31-20 upset of Loyd Star, which came in with a 10-1 record and the No. 1 seed from Class 2A, Region 7.
For his outstanding performance, Gates has been named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
This is the second time this season Gates has won the award, the first player this season a player has won it twice.
Gates scored on runs of 51, 32, 22 and 9 yards Friday for Pisgah, which came in with a 3-7 record and the No. 4 seed from Class 2A, Region 6. He ran behind tackles Wes Purvis, Landon Dubois, and guards Jake Shoemaker, Zach Crapps and Trace Spangler, center Lucas Reinhardt, quarterback Jackson Swales (who lines up as a tight end in thunder) and blocking backs Aiden Swales and tight end Braxton Brown and Colton Coleman.
“We rode Kyshaun to victory. He had an incredible night,” Pisgah coach Michael Granberry said. “Kyshaun hardly came out of the game. The two teams has combined 130 plays in the game and Kyshaun played about 120 of them. He played offense, defense and on special teams. He is a great kid. Kyshaun never complains. On our last drive, we took over at our own 23 and Kyshaun ran it every time and gained all 77 yards on nine plays. We scored with about a minute and a half to go in the game. Kyshaun normally plays safety for us, but he was moved up to outside linebacker because of injuries and was involved in more plays than usual.”
Gates ran for 230 yards and five TDs on 29 carries and had eight tackles and three pass breakups and sat out most of the fourth quarter to led Pisgah to a 37-26 victory over Richton Sept. 3 when Gates won his first Player of the Week award. Granberry credits his dad, Kenny, for Gates’ success against Richton. Kenny won 204 games at Raymond and Central Hinds and had only three losing seasons in 28 years and now helps his son at Pisgah. The Granberrys have had eight consecutive winning seasons and have made the playoffs each year. Kenny suggested to Michael to go to the Thunder set where Pisgah puts three backs in the backfield and snap the ball to Gates. It worked so well, Pisgah kept doing it. And last Friday night, Pisgah went to Thunder again with Gates producing plenty of yards.
Grant has 1,618 yards on 247 carries and 21 TDs for Pisgah this season. He also has 60 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Gates gained about 700 yards each during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Pisgah visits Newton Friday in a second-round Class 2A playoff game.
Mississippi Scoreboard selects a football player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276 or email [email protected].