By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Picayune captured the family affair Friday night.
Preston Dedeaux ran for 162 yards and four touchdowns, as the Maroon Tide smacked homestanding East Central 41-21 at Shirley Stadium in Region 4-5A action.
With the win, Picayune moves to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in league play, while the Hornets drop to 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the loop.
The game pitted veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee, a former ECHS head coach as well, against current Hornet head coach Seth Smith, who is Lee's son-in-law.
"It's a good win, because this is still a special place to me," Lee said. "We had some good years here, and I think Seth will have some good ones as well."
The win sets up a showdown a home Friday for Picayune as Stone County comes calling. The winner will secure the second seed in the region and host a home playoff game the following week, while the loser will finish third and have to hit the road in the opening round of the postseason.
Dedeaux, the Maroon Tide's senior all-state tailback, scored on runs of 62-, 38- and 6-yards in the first half, as Picayune took control leading 34-14 at halftime.
"I thought we played really well on offense and defense in the first half, we did a lot of things well." Lee added.
What the Maroon Tide didn't do well, was cover kickoffs as the Hornets took two boots back for touchdowns, both from over 90 yards out.
"We have plenty of things to work on," Lee said.
Picayune also scored on a 47-yard fumble recovery and return by Gerrell Keeton in the first half, as well as on a 12-yard scoring scamper by Deandre Anderson.
Dedeaux added an 8-yard run in the final frame, and East Central's Jake Eaker scored from 2-yards out with less than a minute to play to wrap up the scoring.
Jackson Samples hit five extra points for Picayune.
Defensively, Picayune shut down the Hornets until the reserves allowed the final score late in the game. Linebacker Sam Hickman and tackle Hunter Smith were steady on the defensive side of the ball all night for the Maroon Tide.
Pascagoula wrapped up the Region 4-5A title Friday night with a win over George County. Gautier also secured the fourth seed in the league, with a win over Long Beach.
Smith is a former standout player at Pearl River Central and was the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons with the Blue Devils before taking over the helm of the Hornets. He also is a former assistant under Lee on the Maroon Tide staff.