Picayune wins thriller over Rockachaws

Published 5:16 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

Picayune head coach Dodd Lee estimates that senior standout tailback Albert Richard is running at about 80-85 percent after an early season ankle injury.

It’s a pretty good guess that St. Stanislaus doesn’t ever want to see the speedster completely healthy.

Richard ran for 252 yards and two long touchdowns Friday as the Maroon Tide won a 30-27 shootout over homestanding St. Stanislaus in a key Division 8-4A game.

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Richard helped Picayune run up almost 500 yards of total offense, including just over 400 on the ground and out-gun a pass happy SSC offense led by sophomore quarterback Dylan Favre.

It was the first loss of the year for SSC, which fell to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in league play.

“The most important thing is that it’s a win,” Lee, whose team moved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, said. “Albert should be everybody’s hero. He is still playing hurt and he is about 154 pounds, but he carried us at times tonight.”

The 252 yards was the second highest game total of Richard’s star-studded career and by far the highest of this year.

“I think they held me to under 100 yards last year, so I felt like I had something to prove against them,” Richard, who ran for over 2,200 yards and had 33 scores last year, said. “We knew they (SSC) were good, and it wasn’t just me having to step up but the whole team. When I find a hole I feel like I need to take it all the way.”

And he did. Twice.

Richard’s first long run came with Picayune trailing the Rocks 7-0 after the first of Favre’s four touchdown passes.

The diminutive dynamo ran 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play after the ensuing SSC kickoff to tie the game up and display a harbinger of things to come.

Favre, whose first scoring pass covered 22-yards to Evan Cranford, also hit Krisjon Wilkerson on a 23 yard touchdown pass in the first half.

The second score came after Picayune quarterback Caleb Hickman had given the Tide a lead when he hooked up with Chris Nixon on a 16 yard touchdown toss on the series after Richard’s first score.

With the Tide trailing 14-13 on Favre’s second scoring pass, Richard went back to work quickly dashing 74 yards on the first play of the drive for another touchdown.

Reggie Bailey ran for the two point conversion, and Picayune led 21-14 at halftime.

“I thought we did a pretty good job on Favre until he got outside of our containment,” Lee added. “We put some pressure on him but he hurt us when he scrambled and then completed some stuff.”

The Tide got the ball to begin the second half and moved down the field as if they would extend their lead. But SSC held, and Picayune ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Rocks’ 27.

Favre, who completed 18-of-31 passes for 301 yards and the four scores, then led SSC down the field and his 26 yard scoring pass to tight end Boomer Scarborough on fourth and 12 tied the game at 21-21.

The Maroon Tide responded again, though, as Hickman marched Picayune into Rockachaw territory. He hit T’Daryl Grays on a 26 yard pass to the SSC one, and Drew Cole gave Picayune a lead it would never relinquish on the next play as he covered the distance.

Like a heavyweight boxing match, the opponent took the shot and came back fighting as SSC returned the favor when Favre hit Cranford on a 23-yard touchdown pass with nine minutes to play. Cranford, though, missed the point after leaving the score 28-27.

The teams swapped punts before Picayune got the ball back at its own 16 with six minutes to play. The Tide managed several first downs and two key Cole runs put the ball at the SSC 20 with just over a minute to play.

But Cole fumbled trying to get more yards on the next play, and SSC had one last chance.

The Tide defense, which played well in the last quarter, never let Favre get untracked though, sacking him two straight times thanks to the efforts of Nick Porter, Matt Barr, Cole and Jake Martinez and the last sack resulted in a safety to end the scoring.

“The defense came through with a stop at the end when we had to have it,” Lee added.

Picayune now returns home to celebrate Homecoming against Bay High.

St. Stanislaus also has Homecoming next week, taking on D’Iberville in another big Division 8-4A game.

“We made some mistakes, but I think they are things we can fix,” Lee added.