• 70°

Rivalry Renewed: PRC and Picayune meet again

There will be no need for introductions between the 6-4 Pearl River Central Blue Devils and the 9-1 Picayune Maroon Tide when they take the field this Friday night for their first round playoff matchup – these two teams already know each other.

Picayune earned a hard-fought 19-14 victory over PRC on Sept. 12 of this season, but the history of the rivalry between these teams dates back further than that. Less than 8 miles separate these two schools, and they have not always been the friendliest of neighbors.

Each team took a different path to the playoffs this year. Picayune, the reigning 5A state champions, breezed through their schedule with a 9-1 record and won their division to clinch a number one seed in the playoffs. The Tide has only lost one game in the past two years, a Halloween night defeat against East Central, 31-28.

PRC started their season 1-3 and looked to be headed for a rough season before winning five of their last six games, clinching a playoff spot on the last night of the regular season by defeating Brookhaven. With an average margin of victory in those games of more than 37 points, the Blue Devils are playing their best football at the right time of the year. PRC earned a trip to Picayune for a playoff rematch against their archrivals by clinching the fourth seed in their division.

This game has not been kind to PRC in recent memory. With their early season victory over the Blue Devils, Picayune extended their winning streak against PRC to 17 consecutive games. Most of the players that will take the field on Friday night were not even playing pee-wee football the last time the Blue Devils beat Picayune.

That winning streak includes the last time these two teams met in the semifinals of the 2011 playoffs. Picayune defeated the Blue Devils 45-10 before moving on to the state championship to defeat Starkville 38-21.

History, trends, records and statistics are all interesting things to talk about for football fans, but Friday night will tell its own story. The winner will move on to round two of the playoffs to face the winner of the Wayne County and Gautier game, while the loser will return home and start preparing for next year.

Those are the stakes.

The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Picayune Memorial High School football stadium.