Tide falls in overtime

Published 12:19 am Sunday, November 25, 2007

Picayune played its second overtime game of the 2007 playoffs Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Maroon Tide, this one didn’t turn out like the first one did.

The homestanding and top-ranked Moss Point Tigers used a stout defensive effort and a 1-yard run by quarterback Quayshaun Williams in the extra session to edge Picayune 17-10 in overtime Friday night at Dantzler Stadium.

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 With the win, 12-1 Moss Point moves on to meet Laurel in the Class 4A South State finals in Laurel.

 The Maroon Tide, 10-2 and  ranked second in Class 4A right behin the Tigers,, had a 10 game winning streak snapped. Moss Point beat Picayune 28-14 to open the season and the Tide had won 10 straight since that loss.

 “This is what we expected, we knew it would be a tough, hard-fought game,” veteran MPHS head coach Jerry Alexander, whose team moved down to Class 4A this season, said. “It’s a typical Moss Point-Picayune game. It came down to one or two plays at the end.”

 And it was the Tigers, despite surrendering a 10-0 lead, that made the plays at the end.

 On a third and 10 play in overtime, Williams, with a Picayune defender clinging to him, hit wide out Kevin Barkley on a nine-yard completion to the one. Williams scored on the fourth down play.

 In Picayune’s extra session, the Tiger defense stopped Tide standout Albert Richard for one yard on two rushing plays and then two straight passes fell incomplete.

 “It’s tough to take, but that’s football,” Picayune’s Dodd Lee said. “We played our heart out, and so did they. They just made a play at the end that we didn’t.”

 The Tide had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, but Matt Dragon pushed a 30-yard field goal attempt just a bit left at the 4:31 mark.

 Moss Point took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when Williams and Barkley hooked up on a 7-yard scoring strike.

 The Tigers extended the lead to 10-0 when Jeff Loris hit a 23-yard field goal seven minutes later.

 Picayune cut the deficit to 7-3 on the final play of the first half, as Dragon hit a 34-yad field goal.

 The Maroon Tide then tied the game up at 10-10 early in the fourth period, when Caleb Hickman it Drew Cole on a 12-yard touchdown toss.

 The scoring play was set up when the Tide special teams forced a botched Moss Point punt attempt a recovered the ball at the Tiger 13.

 The Maroon Tide special teams then struck again, blocking Moss Point’s next punt attempt and recovering at the Tiger 16 before Dragon’s missed kick.

 The win by the Tigers ended a four game win streak by the visiting team in the series.

A major factor in the game was Moss Point’s defensive line, which controlled the line of scrimmage all night against the Maroon Tide.

 Moss Point’s defense, led by defensive tackles Willie Packer and Jared Washington, held the speedy Richard in check most of the night and never allowed him to beak off a long gainer as he finished his final game with 56 yards on the ground.

 The Tigers’ standout running back Meco Brown, had better success as he gained 151 yards on the night.

 “You have to give a lot of credit to our defense which hung in there after we put them in some tough spots,” Alexander added. “I really thought we turned it up when we needed to stop them, and now we get a chance to play for the South State title.”

 It was the second straight season Picayune lost in the South State semifinals.

Picayune had handed Lee his first ever overtime playoff win two weeks ago, when the Tide beat Gautier 34-31 in double OT.

 “Their defense is very good, but we knew that we’d seen them before,” the veteran Lee concluded. “We thought we needed to play well on special teams to win, and we did. Our defense and special teams turned the game for us in the fourth quarter, we just came up a little short.”