Tide struggles but wins

Published 1:20 am Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picayune normally prides itself on winning the second half of football games.

To veteran head coach Dodd Lee’s dismay, however, that wasn’t the case on Friday night.

The Maroon Tide dominated the first half, rolling to a 35-10 at halftime against visiting Stone County. And then Picayune held on as the struggling Tomcats became dominant, before Lee’s team held on for a 49-34 win.

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“I am embarrassed. This is the worst defensive game we have played since I have been here,” Lee, whose second ranked team moves to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Region 3-5A play, said. “I am not used to losing games in the second half, and they whipped our (tails) after halftime.”

Picayune standout senior tailback Jamal Hall made sure the poor defensive effort by his  teammates didn’t derail his team, as he ran for 262 yards and scored four touchdowns.

“We just don’t have the same intensity that we played with earlier in the season,” Hall, who now has rushed for almost 1,500 yards and scored 15 times in just six games, said. “We have some injuries, but we have to have some people start stepping up if we are going to get where we want to go.”

In the first half, it appeared that Picayune was well on its way to an easy win.

Maroon Tide linebacker Cody Smith picked off a pass from SCHS QB Clint Hatten and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown.

After Stone’s Sam Fountain cut the deficit to 7-3 with a field goal, Hall rambled 48 yards to the Tomcat 12 and Scottie Merrill ran eight yards for a touchdown to make it 14-3.

Hatten’s 30 yard scoring pass to Cade Amacker on the first play of the second stanza cut the lead to 14-10.

It was all Picayune the rest of the way in the first half though, as Hall scored  on two short runs of 3 and 1 yards and Benjamin Hickman hooked up with Justin Marks for a 52 yard scoring strike on the last play of the first half giving the Maroon Tide a seemingly comfortbale 25 point lead at halftime.

But Tomcat standout Darrion Arrington, a Dandy Dozen pick, was a force all night on both sides of the ball. He ran for 242 yards and scored on a pair of longs runs.

“He was by far the best player on the field,” Lee added.

Arrington’s 82 yard run to open the second half cut the lead to 35-17. After a Picayune fumble, Hatten scrambled 36 yards on a fourth and 16 play for another score to make it 35-24. Neither Arrington or Hatten was touched by a Maroon Tide defender on either scoring play.

Hall’s 36 yard scoring run with five seconds to play in the third frame made it 42-24.

Fountain’s second field goal made it 42-27 early in the final period, and  Hall added a 5-yard scoring run with 1:34 to play. Arrington’s second long scoring run, this one from 72 yards, resulted in the final score.

“We’re not good on defense in any way, shape or form right now,” Lee added. “We don’t stop the run at all and we can’t cover anybody. And to be honest, we aren’t executing very well on offense either. We won, besides that I didn’t see anything good from this game.”

Stone fell to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in league play.

Picayune’s Malcom Faciane recovered a fumble Merrill had an interception for the Maroon Tide.

Lee and his team hit the road to Brookhaven on Friday.

“I guess we thought we were good, but we’re not,” Lee concluded. “We have just about no one willing to hit anybody and nobody that can tackle. If we have a chance to win another game, we will just have to try and outscore them I guess.”