By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
MONTGOMERY, Ala. —
Desmond Taylor’s football career at Picayune High spanned three seasons.
He will be remembered for one play.
Taylor, the Tide’s starting fullback the past two years, sprinted untouched 64 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the Class 5A state championship game against Starkville last season. The scoring scamper gave Picayune a quick lead en route to a 38-21 state title win.
“I won’t ever forget it,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee, who just completed his 17th season at the helm of his alma mater, said. “You couldn’t ask for a better way to start off a game, especially that one.”
Taylor ran for over 100 yards in the win that gave the Maroon Tide its first state championship in 25 years.
Today, Taylor is one of three Picayune products in the starting line-up for their home state in the annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic.
Kickoff for the regionally televised game is set just after Noon here at the historic Cramton Bowl.
Taylor was named the first team Class 5A All-State fullback last week, but wasn’t sure he be involved in this game.
“I really didn’t think they’d pick a fullback, depending on the offense that was run,” Taylor said. “I was a little surprised to be honest, but I was happy I got picked.”
Taylor is expected to contribute in several ways to the efforts by the Mississippi offense as the team attempts to snap a four game losing streak to Alabama. He will see action blocking for a talented trio of running backs, as well as perhaps being called upon to catch a few passes out of the backfield and carry the ball a few times as well.
“We want to win, so whatever it takes for us to have chance at winning I am willing to do,” Taylor added.
And that type of attitude was a trait of Taylor’s during his three years with the Maroon Tide as well.
“Desmond always did whatever we asked of him and always gave it his best effort,” Lee sid. “He worked hard every day no matter what we asked of him.”
Taylor joins fellow Tidesmen Joey Reynolds and Jacob Feeley in the contest today. All three should have an impact on the game.
“It’s an honor to be able to play with these guys one more time, especially in a game as big as this,” Taylor said. “Like the state championship game, this should be an experience we will never forget.We’re all excited about playing against the best in Alabama.”
Taylor was part of a Maroon Tide senior class that won 32 games in three seasons, the most ever by one group in school history. He ran for over 900 yards this past season, and for almost 2,000 in his career. He also scored 23 touchdowns, including that one to open the state championship game.
And what are Taylor’s thoughts on producing yet another big scoring run in yet another big game?
“If the line blocks well, I just might break one,” he said with a grin, in front of his fellow Tide teammates. “That would be a pretty good way to close out our careers.”
As well as provide yet another stirring memory for Maroon Tide fans.