• 61°

Tide seniors in rare class

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

Friday’s opening round Class 4A playoff win over Forest Hill was a big one for Picayune.

Not only did it allow the Maroon Tide to move into the second round of the postseason tournament, but it also gave the current Picayune senior class 30 wins over the past three seasons, an accomplishment achieved only once before in modern school history.

Picayune is 30-5 over the past three seasons entering Friday’s game on the road at top-ranked and unbeaten Wayne County.

“I am really proud of them” Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said of his group that could play their final game Friday. “To get 30 wins in three years is really something big. Not many players can say they averaged 10 wins a year.”

In fact, only the senior class from the 2001-2003 season can say they fared better than the current class, as that group went 31-8 over that span with three trips to the playoffs including losing in the Class 5A South State championship game to Oak Grove in 2003.

The current crop of seniors began the current streak with an 11-1 mark in 2006, then went 10-2 last season. Both of those teams made it to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs, something a win Friday would allow this year’s squad to do as well.

“I know they will play hard,” Lee added. “These kids have never failed to give a good effort.”

The Maroon Tide senior class is led by a trio of three year starters, in lineman Jonathan Billups, and versatile skill position players Reggie Bailey and T’Daryl Grays. Also, classmate Chris Nixon has started the past two years and played quite a bit as a sophomore. He was involved in a controversial pass play late in the season ending loss that season to Wayne County.

All four players start on both sides of the ball for Lee.

“Those kids have meant a lot to this program, and always will,” Lee concluded. “They’ve been a part of some big wins here at Picayune.”

And both the coach and this current crop of record setting players hope they can be a part of at least one more as well.