Warriors topple Tide

Published 6:34 pm Monday, September 15, 2008

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

OAK GROVE – Oak Grove’s recent run of success against Picayune continued Friday night.

The homestanding Warriors tallied 28 unanswered points duing a 10 minute span over the second and third quarters, erasing a 14-7 deficit in the process en route to a 35-21 win in a match-up of ranked teams.

It was the first meeting between the teams since the 2004 season, but the decision marked the fourth straight win by Oak Grove in this series since the 2003 season.

“That’s the best team we’ve played in a while,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee, whose team was ranked 10th in the state, said. “I think playing teams like this will make us better later in the season, that’s why we play games like this.”

The Maroon Tide falls to 2-1 on the season with the loss, while the sixth ranked Warriors remained unbeaten at 3-0 with the win.

Picayune sophomore tailback Jamal Hall ran for over 100 yards for the second straight game, finishing with 116 yards. His 46 yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter put the Maroon Tide up 14-7.

It was the second scoring run in the first three possessions of the game for Picayune, as starting tailback T’Daryl Grays put the Tide up 7-0 with 5-yard touchdown jaunt early in the game.

The Warriors responded to that opening score by tying the game on the first of tailback Jay Hughes’ three scoring scampers. And once the Tide took the lead for the last time on Hall’s scoring sprint to open the second stanza, Oak Grove responded in even more impressive fashion.

Oak Grove quarterback Robert McMahon who accounted for over 300 yards of total offense, knotted the game mid way through the second period on a 1-yard sneak. After the Warriors forced the Tide to punt later in the quarter, McMahon hit Steve McNair Jr., on a long pass to the Picayune one and Hughes plunged in for the score one play later to give the home team a 21-14 lead at halftime.

“That was key for them, being able to take the lead there just before halftime,” Lee added. “Then we had to have a stop coming out in the third quarter and we couldn’t get one.”

Indeed. The Warriors proceeded to all but put the game away scoring touchdowns in their first two possessions of the third frame, thanks to a 30-yard run by Hughes and a 55-yard touchdown toss from McMahon to Robbie Johnson.

Picayune cut into the lead late in the period, when Jacob Kennedy hit Reggie Bailey on an 15 yard scoring pass, but that would be as close as the Tide would get as the fourth quarter transpired scoreless.

McMahon riddled the Tide secondary for 273 yards through the air, completing 16 of 28 passes. Hughes, a transfer from Oxford High whose father Tony is in his first year as an assistant coach at USM, ran for 126 yards and the three scores.

Kennedy completed 13 passes to seven different Tide receivers for 153 yards on 25 tries.

“That team is going to beat a lot of teams the rest of the year,” Lee concluded. “But I think we will too.”

Picayune hosts Pascagoula on Friday.