Picayune falls to Wayne County

Published 7:00 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

By Paul Keane

A flurry of 31 unanswered points in the final nine minutes of the second quarter proved to be the difference Friday night as Wayne County rolled past Picayune, 58-28, in a first-round Class 5A football playoff game at home.

The win improved the War Eagles to 9-3 on the year and sets up a second-round showdown in Carriere against the 11-1 Blue Devils of Pearl River Central High School.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The War Eagles and Maroon Tide battled back and forth in the early going, with PHS taking a 13-7 led with 10:18 left in the first half. Then came a flurry of four touchdowns and a field goal as time expired, giving the home team a 38-13 lead at the intermission.

“Early on, especially defensively, we were kind of feeling our way through things,” WCHS Head Coach Todd Mangum said. “It’s hard to simulate their offense in practice, and it took some time to get used to the speed of the game. Once we got assimilated to things, everything started coming together.”

The War Eagles held the ball on offense for only 14:16, but made the most of things with the 58 points.

WCHS took the opening kickoff and promptly marched 71 yards in six plays, capping things off when Reggie Stewart hit RaMeik Wallace with a short pass, with Wallace turning it into a 39-yard scoring strike. The Brett Reynolds extra point opened up a 7-0 lead with 10:42 left in the opening quarter.

The Maroon Tide answered right back, marching down to the WCHS 14-yard line before the drive stalled. Jackson Samples booted a 31-yard field goal to make it 7-3 with 6:41 left in the period.

On the ensuing series, Picayune’s defense held, allowing its offense to take over at its own 31-yard line. Seven plays later, the drive stalled at the WCHS 7-yard line, and Sample came on to kick a 23-yard field goal to trim the deficit down to 7-6 with 1:22 left in the first quarter.

Three plays and a punt later, the Maroon Tide took over at its own 48-yard line. Five plays later — including a 42-yard pass down to the 2 — Josh Littles bulled his way into the end zone for the score. The Samples kick gave the visiting team a 13-7 edge with 10:18 left in the first half.

It took only four plays after that PHS score before Freddy Jordan Jr. scored on a 35-yard run to cap off a 56-yard drive. The Reynolds kick made it 14-13 with 9:06 left.

On the very next play, Benito Jones recovered a fumble at the PHS 39-yard line, and it took only five more plays before Chris Cooley scored on a 13-yard run. The Reynolds kick opened up a 21-13 lead with 7:36remaining in the half.

Three plays and a punt later, the War Eagles took over at their own 39-yard line. Six plays later, Jordan Jr., scored on a 13-yard run, with the Reynolds kick making it 28-13 with 5:10 remaining.

On first down, Jordan Jr., burst up the middle and raced to the end zone. The Reynolds kick made it 35-13 with 2:47 left before the intermission.

An incomplete pass on fourth down on the ensuing drive allowed WCHS to take over at midfield again. Using a 46-yard pass from Stewart to Wallace, the War Eagles then tried to score one more touchdown, but things stalled. Reynolds came on to boot the 19-yard field goal as time expired, giving the War Eagles a 38-13 halftime lead.

After the defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, the War Eagles’ offense took over at the PHS 43-yard line. Six plays later, Stewart plunged in from a yard out, and the Reynolds kick made it 45-13 with 7:58left in the third quarter.

The Maroon Tide answered that score late in the period, marching 63 yards in 11 plays before Blake Merrifield raced in from 9 yards out. Littles ran in the two-point conversion to trim the deficit down to 45-21 with 1:02left.

The War Eagles needed only three plays to answer that score, as Stewart hit Jonathan McDougle with a short slant pass, with McDougle making a stutter-step move at midfield to slip past a pair of PHS defenders en route to the 80-yard touchdown, making it 51-21 with 15 seconds left in the third stanza.

On the ensuing series, PHS marched down to the WCHS 26-yard line before JaMarcus Fisher picked off a pass at the 13. Three plays later, Stewart hit a wide open Demetrius Harris with a third-down pass, and Harris turned it into a 93-yard scoring jaunt.