Undefeated Tide still see ways to improve before facing Stone
Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2016
The Maroon Tide is coming off a big win against Hattiesburg, putting 56 points on the scoreboard and maintaining an undefeated record. However, Picayune’s Head Football Coach Dodd Lee is not satisfied and still sees room for improvement ahead of Friday’s homecoming game against Stone County High School.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Lee said. “Our effort defensively was awful down the stretch against Hattiesburg. We lost sight of our fundamentals.”
Lee put the blame on himself concerning the fatigue the team experienced in the second half, saying, “maybe it’s a coaching problem. We need to find out what it is and improve on it before we step on the field this week.”
When playing against Picayune, competitors face a challenge.
In the past three weeks, Picayune has scored an average of 59 points per game, the highest scoring average in the past few weeks in the 5A region 4 district.
This high-velocity scoring can easily be attributed to the Maroon Tide backfield, including Josh Littles, Shaun Anderson, David Baker and fullback Blake Merrifield.
Together, this group accounts for over 85 percent of the team’s total rushing yards and 31 of 40 total rushing touchdowns this season.
The Stone Tomcats (5-2; 2-1 district) and Picayune Maroon Tide (7-0; 3-0 district) have one thing in common, both teams possess a couple of the best running backs in the state.
Tomcats’ Terrion Avery averages 183.1 yards per game and has a whopping 16 total touchdowns. In week five, Avery had a field-day against Pearl River Central High School, raking in 273 yards and four touchdowns. Also, not one defense has been able to keep Stone County’s star running back under 123 yards in a game, which presents a challenge for the Maroon Tide.
However, even with the likes of Avery, not many defenses in the state can stop Josh Littles, as he has chugged for 1,418 yards, reaching the end zone 17 times this season. Averaging 202.6 rushing yards per game, the Maroon Tide running back looks to lead the most potent offense in Mississippi to another district win on Friday.
“He has been playing great. But what is great about this offense is that he isn’t the only great talent that we have,” Lee said. “We also have a great group of backs that help change the pace of the game and help us get points on the board and they are all important to our success.”
Littles and the Maroon Tide offense will be going up against a Tomcats defense that, last week, limited the Gautier Gators to only 7 points. When the Maroon Tide played the Gators in week 5, Gautier scored 38 points.
“When the going gets tough, we need to focus as a defense, and that is something we are going to make sure happens for the rest of the season,” Lee said.
Picayune hosts their homecoming game against Stone County this Friday. Kickoff for the game will be at 7 p.m.