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Picayune holds off Slidell

Brandon Marble got things rolling for Picayune against Slidell Friday night, then Drew Cole finished the visiting Tigers off.

Marble blocked a punt and returned it for a score and Cole ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns as the Maroon Tide knocked off Slidell 21-14.

With the win Picayune moves to 2-1 on the season while Slidell stands 0-3. It was the first meeting between the teams in 15 years.

Marble’s big play reversed the fortunes of the Tide from their first home game, when Moss Point blocked a Picayune punt and took an early lead it would never relinquish.

“It was a big play, no doubt,” Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said. “It gave us a lift early and put us on the scoreboard.”

Marble shot through the left side of the Tiger punt team and knocked down the kick at the 15 yard line. The ball rolled back towards the end zone, and Marble scooped the ball up at the seven and dashed in for the mscore.

“It was a good game, we really didn’t know what to expect,” Lee added. “I thought both teams played hard. We were missing a few guys, but wegot a few big plays from the guys that were in there.”

Picayune was without its top two tailbacks, including senior Albert Richard who rushed for over 2,200 yards and scored 33 touchdowns last season. Both he and junior back-up T’Derryl Greys were injured and did not dress for the game.

Fortunately for the Tide, though, that is a spot where Picayune is pretty loaded, and Cole filled in well cracking the 100-yard mark for the second straight game.

Cole, who is an Auburn commitment as a cornerback, carried 22 times and scored on runs of 8 and 5-yards. His first run put Picayune extended Picayune’s lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter.

“Drew played well, he didn’t leave the field very much but we tried to give him a break when we could,” Lee added. “We knew he would have to carry the load tonight, and he did.”

The Tigers fought back just before halftime, and Blake Forbis hit T. J. Nunez on a 3-yard scoring strike to cut the deficit in half at 14-7 at intermission.

Both teams traded a pair of turnovers in the third quarter, but Picayune was able to extend its lead on Cole’s second scoring scamper with just 1:24 to play in the period.

Just as it looked like Picayune was moving in to scoring position to seal the win early in the final frame, Cole fumbled and the Tigers mounted a bit of a come back. Forbis directed Slidell on a nine play, 70-yard march that included several key passes to Darrell Scott. The drive culmintaed when Forbis scrambled up the middle through the Tide defense for the final seven yards, and Slidell trailed 21-14 with six minutes to play.

That would be as close as the visitors would get, however.

After another Cole fumble in Tiger territory, Slidell faced a fourth and two at their own 38 and a Forbis pass fell incomplete.

Cole and Picayune then controlled the ball and moved to the Slidell five and ran out the clock,taking a knee on the last play.

“”It was a really good game, Picayune just made a play or two more than we did,” Slidell head coach Artie Liuzza said

Picayune place-kicker Matt Dragon was three for three on extra point attempts, and is now a perfect nine for nine on the season.

The Tide travels to Pascagoula for a rare Saturday night game this week, with kickoff against the undefeated Panthers set for 7 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium.