Tide looking to end road streak

Published 6:09 am Thursday, November 19, 2009


Item Sports Editor

When Picayune travels to Moss Point Friday night, the Maroon Tide will be looking to accomplish two things it hasn’t done in six years.

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Picayune is riding a five game road losing streak in the playoffs as it travels to Dantzler Stadium to face the Tigers in the Class 5A South State semifinals.

The last time the Maroon Tide won a playoff game on the road was in 2003, when Picayune beat Northwest Rankin in Brandon to earn a spot in the South State finals. Since then, Picayune has dropped five straight playoff games on the road, once in the South State finals and all others in either the second or third round of the playoffs.

A win Friday would not only break that streak, but put the Maroon Tide in the South State finals for the first time since that 2003 game as well.

The Tigers are 10-2 and have won nine straight games, after early season losses to powerful 6A teams George County (15-14 on a last second field goal and Ocean Springs (21-14 on the road.

Picayune has won eight of its last nine games, with the only blemish a 21-20 overtime loss to unbeaten and top-ranked West Jones.

Moss Point is paced by junior tailback Byron James, who has run for 983 yards and 12 touchdowns, while sharing time in the backfield with JoJo Snell who has picked up 682 yards and scored seven times.

Sophomore quarterback Joe Kirkland, who started at times last year because of an injury to junior signal-caller Quayshawn Williams, has wrestled the starting job away from Williams and has thrown for 1,334 yards and 11 scores with only two interceptions, while completing 74-of-122 passes for a completuin rate of over 60 percent.

Darius Stallowrth is the top reciever, hauling in 32 catches for 574 yards and seven scores.

The Tide also has to watch fullback Reggie Mathews, who scored twice last week in a win over Brookhaven to open the playoffs.

Matthews ran for over 160 yards and two long touchdowns, covering 56 and 50 yards, against the Maroon Tide earlier this season..

Defensively, linebacker Kevin Barley is the dominant defender as he has recorded a team high 84 tackles as well as seven sacks, also a team best.

Cornerback Telvis Henderson has five interceptions, including one in his own end zone earlier in the game this season against Picayune that changed the momentum of the contest.

He also picked off a pair of passes last week against Brookhaven and returned one 86yards for a score.

If Picayune wins, the Tide would meet either Wayne County at home or have to travel to West Jones for the South State championship, depending on who wins that game.