Tide rolls past LCHS

Published 4:59 am Sunday, November 18, 2007

Picayune is making a habit of creating a familiar feeling against unfamiliar foes.

For the third time this season, and second straight week in the Class 4A South State playoffs, the Maroon Tide knocked off a team it had never faced before on the football field as Picayune smacked visiting Lawrence County 53-29 Friday night.

The win moves the Maroon Tide (10-1), ranked second in Class 4A, into the South State semifinals against top-ranked Moss Point which handed Picayune its only loss of the year in the season opener. Lawrence County finishes the season at 10-2.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Moss Point beat Northeast Jonbes 18-13 on Friday.

The Maroon Tide scored 40 unanswered points at one point against Lawrence County, overcoming a 21-6 deficit in the process to secure the commanding win. Picayune is in the midst of its most succcessful two year run since the statewide playoff system was implemented in the early 1980’s, registering a 21-2 mark over the past two seasons.

“I’m happy to be working on Thanksgiving,” veteran Maroon Tide head coach Dodd Lee, whose team knocked off Gautier last week and Madison Central earlier in the season in the first ever meetings with those teams, said. “I can’t say enough about these kids and what they did tonight. That was one of the best second half performances I have ever been around.”

The Maroon Tide turned the momentum in the third period, when they forced three straight LCHS turnovers around mid-field and proceeded to score three consecutive touchdowns to take control.

“We knew if we made some big plays to stop them on defense, the offense would make some big plays as well,” Picayune standout Jake Martinez, who starts at tight end and defensive end, said. “We were determined to play again.”

Picayune tailback Albert Richard capped the first scoring drive in the second half, when he scored from two yards out to put the Maroon Tide up 25-21.

The scoring drive came after the Tide caused a fumble on a fourth down play from mid-field when the Cougars attempted a fake punt and Picayune’s Justin Flowers came up with the loose ball.

Two more turnovers, another fumble that was recovered by Jonathan Freeman and an interception by Kwmane Wilson, followed in the next two LCHS drives, and Picayune took advantage with an 18-yard scoring run by Drew Cole and a 1-yard sneak by Caleb Hickman to put the Tide up 39-21 early in the final period.

Richard finished the game with 188 yards rushing on 29 carries and four touchdowns, including a pair of scoring runs in the first half.

In fact, his second scoring run of the opening half, a 34-yarder, cut the LCHS lead to 21-12 with just 4:34 to play before halftime.

Hickman then hit Martinez on an 11-yard scoring strike three minutes later, to make it 21-19 at intermission.

The Cougars found themselves ahead after the first quarter 14-6, despite just running one offensive play.

After Richard opened the scoring with a 3-yard run, LCHS got a 84-yard scoring scamper from Isiah Ferdinand.

Then, after Richard had a scoring run called back on Picayune’s second drive of the game, Cougar safety Curtis Carr picked up a fumble and ran 57 yards for a touchdown to put LCHS up 14-6.

Lawrence County standout fullback Kendrick Hardy made it 21-6 on a 14-yard touchdown run mid-way through the second period, before Picayune reeled off 40 straight to take control.

Hardy, who had close to 1,800 yards rushing coming into the game, was held in check most of the night by the Tide, but did manage to shake loose for a long scoring run of 67 yards late in the game and finished with 187 yards on the night while Ferdinand ran for 128 yards.

Picayune fullback Gabe Hinojosa added 109 yards rushing and a score for the Maroon Tide. Richard, Hinojosa and Cole helped the Tide rush for over 400 yards in the contest.

It was Hinojosa, in fact, who was the spark plug that got Picayune running on offense in the pivotal third quarter as he as he broke loss on several long gains on quick hitters up the middle as the Cougar defense keyed on Richard and Cole at tailback.

“”We came out with some new energy in the second half, and gtaht is what playing at home will do for you,” Hinojosa said. “We came out with a mindset to make something happen, and once some things started to work it gives you even more confidence.”

Lee was impressed with the way his team bounced back after falling behind early.

“We faced some adversity early in the game, but the kids played through it and overcame it,” Lee concluded. “We saw some some things at halftime that we thought we could adjust on, and we did. And the three straight stops our defense came up with there in the second half turned it around and we took advantage of it on offense.”

Moss Point beat Picayune 28-14 in Maroon Tide Stadium to open the season. Since then, the Maroon Tide has reeled off 10 straight wins.

Moss Point is 11-1, losing only to Pascagoula two weeks after beating Picayune. The Tigers have won nine straight.