Little Richard causes big trouble

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, November 11, 2006

Picayune’s Albert Richard is quite often one of the smallest players on the football field.

He always seems to be big trouble for the Maroon Tide opponents, though.

Richard has rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored 27 touchdowns for the unbeaten Maroon Tide, which stands 10-0 heading into tonight’s home Class 4A state playoff game against McComb.

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And the 5-foot-6, 155-pound diminutive dynamo has accomplished all of this in his junior season, his first as a starter for the Maroon Tide.

“I’ve kind of surprised myself to be honest,” Richard said. “I’ve had more success than I thought I would in my first year as a starter. My teammates and coaches, especially the offensive line, has really helped me live up to my potential.”

Richard is averaging over 160 yards on the ground per game, and has cracked the 200 yard mark on three different occasions this season. He has also scored four touchdowns in three different games, and has been held under the 100-yard mark just once this season.

“I just try to make something big happen everytime I get the ball,” Richard added. “I depend on my line, and I know the hole is going to be there. It’’s my job to get the yards.”

And get the yards he has, thanks to that aforementioned offensive line.

“All we have to do is make a crease, and Albert will get through it,” tackle James Brady, the only senior along the interior wall, said. “He hasn’t surprised me with what he has done. Back in the Spring you could see he had talent. He has worked hard and improved and is a big key for us.”

His speed and his quickness have been the main ingredients in his recipe for success this season.

“He has a chance to score just about everytime he gets his hands on the ball,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said. “He’s kind of on the small side, but he has a big heart and he has made some big plays for us this season.”

In addition to Brady, Tommy Dillard, Huey Stockstill, Thor Newbold and Jonathan Billups round out the tough offensive front with Justin Flowers and Levi Slaydon manning the tight end spots.

Fullback Dale Meitzler and running back Drew Cole have provided key blocking as well at times, as has wingback Reginald Bailey.

The Maroon Tide hope Richard can continue his success on the ground as they make a march to the Class 4A state championship, trying to win their first title in 20 years.

“That’s the goal, winning as a team,” Richard added. “The individual stuff isn’t that important to me, it’s about winning.”

And Richard’s play has been a big reason why Picayune has had so many wins this season.