By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Picayune’s Jackson Samples hit a 26-yard field goal as the first half buzzer sounded to give his team a 10-point halftime lead over visiting Gautier Friday night.
The successful boot was a sign of things to come for both teams.
Samples’ kick was the beginning of 38 straight Maroon Tide points to end the game, as eighth-ranked Picayune swamped the Gators 52-7 to open Region 4-5A play.
Picayune is 3-1 overall, while Gautier falls to 2-3.
“I think we got in some sets in the second half and that allowed us to take advantage of some things they were giving us,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said. “I was proud of how our defense played in the second half. We hadn’t hit (in practice) in two weeks, and I think that showed in the first half. We played better after halftime.”
Picayune’s Preston Dedeaux ran for 192 yards and a 19-yard touchdown in the first half, but was held out of the second half of action due to an injury.
Dedeaux’s run and a 29-yard scoring scamper by Deandre Anderson put Picayune up 14-0 after the opening period.
Gautier fought back though, as Isiah Swopes ran 29 yards to the Tide 28, and several plays later Lajuan Johnson scored on a 5-yard reverse. Josh Penton’s point-after made it 14-7 mid-way through the second stanza, but that was a close as the Gators would get.
Samples’ buzzer-beating boot made it 17-7 at intermission, and it was all Picayune in the second half with 35 consecutive points.
“I think that kick gave them a little momentum heading into halftime,” Gautier head coach Chris Peterson said. “We played well in the first half, but we made way too many mistakes in the second half and we kind of got our rear ends handed to us. They took advantage of every mistake we made, and that’s what good football teams do.”
Xavier Harrallson (15 yards) and Kardarrius Cross (5 yards) had scoring runs for Picayune in the third frame, to make it 31-7. Cross’ scoring run was set up by a 56-yard completion from Boderick Scott to Alex Aaron.
Harrallson’s nine yard touchdown plunge less than a minute into the final period made it 38-7.
Daveon Greene added a 5-yard scoring run and Earl Nastasi scored on a 24-yard dash to end the scoring. Samples was perfect on all nine point-after attempts.
Picayune picked off four passes from three different Gator quarterbacks, with Cross getting two, and Anderson and Greene one apiece.
“It was a good win, but there are still a whole lot of things we can improve on and get better at,” Lee concluded. “We just have to keep working hard and stay healthy and I think we will be all right.”
Picayune travels to Long Beach next week.