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Picayune boys make playoffs for 7th straight season

The boys soccer team at Picayune Memorial High School is in the midst of an historic stretch.

For the first time in school history, the Maroon Tide has qualified for the state playoffs for a seventh straight season. Picayune travels to perennial power Pascagoula Thursday to open the Class 5A South State playoffs at 6 p.m., in War Memorial Stadium, weather permitting.Picayune secured another postseason berth with a frigid 3-2 win on the road Friday night at Long Beach. The Maroon Tide finished the regular season at 10-8 overall and 5-3 in Region 8-5A play under head coach David Mitchell.

Pascagoula is 12-3-3 overall and finished 6-0 in Region 7-5A play. The teams have met once this season, a 4-0 Panther win that took place on the same day as Picayune won the state football championship.

“The first meeting between us and Pascagoula, we were missing 3 starters including our leading goal scorer Isidro Loya because of the football game,” Mitchell, who led the Maroon Tide to the South State finals several seasons ago, said. “The score was 1-0 at the half. Pascagoula is perhaps the second toughest draw in the South behind Pearl. We have a history of playing well against them and the last game was the first time they had beaten us over our last 4 matches.”

Picayune has been on a sort of roll of late, winning six of its last eight games. The only losses in that span came to league champ West Harrison, 1-0 and 2-1.

Mitchell starts three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, a pair of freshman and an 8th grader. The Maroon Tide is led by Tyler Polderman in the middle. Picayune relies heavily on its two forwards Isidro Loya and Mathan Bourgeois. The speedy Bourgeois leads the team with 13 goals, and Polderman is right behind with 12 goals and nine assists. Loya has 11 goals despite missing six games due to an injury.

“We also have a veteran group in the back with Jackson Coole, Mark Wood, Jackson Samples and Avery Roies,” Mitchell added. “We moved Avery to defense after his 8th grade year and since December of 2012 he’s been one of the best defenders on the coast.”

The athleticism of the Maroon Tide is apparent in the fact that Woods led the Picayune baseball team to the South State finals last year and Samples was the place-kicker for the state championship football team. Polderman’s brother Jake plays soccer for Pearl River Community College. Woods just signed a baseball scholarship with East Mississippi Community College.

Picayune led the district in scoring with 46 goals this season. Sophomore Connor Smith leads the Tide in assists with 10.

In goal, Michael Champlin has been solid for the Tide despite this being his first year between the pipes. He has two shutouts, and Jaylin Deas, another football player as well, has one shutout in goal.

Deas got the win Friday against Long Beach as Picayune won in three overtimes on penalty kicks 4-2. Loya and Peyton Quinto scored goals in regulation for Picayune, while Loya, Polderman, Quinto and Mike Jimenez make their kicks in the final session. Picayune won despite missing eight players including three starters for various reasons. The Maroon Tide won the first meeting against the Bearcats 6-0 earlier this month.

Pascagoula goalie Jackson Graham posted his eighth straight shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over East Central last week. Graham has 12 shutouts overall this year and hasn’t allowed a goal in almost six weeks. The Panthers took 31 shots on goal as compared to just three by the Hornets in their last game.

“We’ve been out-shooting just about every opponent we’ve played,” Pascagoula head coach Willie Denton said. “We’ve just got to make sure we get more balls in the goal.”

Triston Garriga leads ‘Goula with nine goals and nine assist this season, while Lanis Lofton has seven goals and 10 assists. Lofton had a pair of goals and Garriga added a goal and an assist in the win over Picayune earlier this season. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Laurel-Brookhaven game on Saturday.