Tide trips up PRC
Published 12:10 am Sunday, September 28, 2008
By CURTIS ROCKWELL
Item Sports Editor
Two time defending Region 8-4A champion Picayune opened defense of its league title in fine fashion Friday night.
The homestanding Maroon Tide got a pair of touchdowns apiece from a trio of different players, and rolled past arch-rival Pearl River Central 45-7 before a crowd of over 3,000.
With the win, fourth ranked Picayune moves to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. The Blue Devils, who dropped their 13th straight game, fall to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in league play.
“We just wanted to come out with a win, that was the most important thing,” Picayune head coach Dodd Lee, whose team jumped out to a 38-0 lead at halftime, said. “Each game is another step.”
The win was the 11th straight in the series for Picayune over PRC. The game might have been the last for a while between the two however, depending on what happens when the MHSAA classification realignment takes place in December.
Picayune’s Chris Nixon, Jarrod Jones and Jamal Hall each tallied two touchdowns apiece in the win.
Nixon, a versatile two-way standout for the Tide, may have provided the biggest play in the game, when he scooped up a Blue Devil fumble and sprinted 81 yards to paydirt with 2:28 to play before halftime.
The play came with Picayune up just 17-0 and PRC threatening to score.
“I’m always looking to make a play, no matter what side of the ball I’m on,” Nixon said. “When I saw the ball come loose I was just thinking about scoop and score.”
The touchdown provided a key swing in the game and opened up the floodgates, so to speak, as Picayune tallied 21 points in the final two minutes or so to take complete control.
“That was a big play,” Lee added.
PRC head coach Jeremy Weir agreed that the play was key as well.
Jones had a pair of scoring runs early, one from 12 yards out and another from 18 yards away. Those touchdowns, combined with a 37 yard field goal by Nick Riso, put Picayune up 17-0 in the second period.
The Blue Devils were moving, thanks to a couple of completions by Tyler Lee, and he hooked up with Ben Lee on a 45 yard pass that put the ball deep in Tide territory.
But Picayune’s Jacob Hickman made a big hit and knocked the ball loose on the next play, and Nixon took off on his scoring sprint.
Picayune’s defense then came up big, causing PRC to turn the ball over on downs and pulling off a turnover in quick succession.
The Tide took advantage, as Nixon hauled in a 5-yard scoring pass from Jacob Kennedy and Hall scored on a 5-yard run just before halftime to make it 38-0.
Kennedy had two big completions to set up each respective score, hitting Wayne McMooain for 26 yards and then Hall for 40 yards.
Cedric Brown and McMooain had interceptions for Picayune in the first half. Brown later added anothr pick.
The Blue Devils used a big interception by Jake Smith to get on the scoreboard in the third quarter, as the cornerback picked Kennedy off and returned it 74 yards to the Picayune 10.
Lee then hit Cody Dillard on a 5-yard scoring strike for PRC’s lone touchdown.
Hall, who ran for 146 yards in the game, finished up the scoring with a 5-yard run in the final quarter.
Jones also cracked the 100 yard plateau, with 113 yards on the ground for the Tide.
PRC’s Kelly Lauga had three catches for the Blue Devils.
Both teams were without key players, as PRC’s speedy standout Je’Barr Locure missed the game with an ankle injury as did Picayune’s Kell Goff and Maroon Tide starting tailback T’Daryl Grays played only a few plays due to a recurring ankle problem.
Picayune travels to Poplarville on Friday, and PRC hosts Bay High.