Picayune looks to its standout defense to push past Pascagoula this Friday night

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 1, 2017

PICAYUNE — The Pascagoula Panthers are typically a team comprised of talent that can produce a scoring spree in any given game. However, the Panthers will face a fast Maroon Tide defense Friday, one that has enough talent to repeat last year’s shutout victory against the team.

Picayune possibly has one of the most athletic defenses in south Mississippi. The Maroon Tide have the 2016 South State long jump champion Ronald Polk playing cornerback to shut down virtually any receiver in prep football. Running back Shaun Anderson, who is said to run a 4.4 second 40-yard dash, also plays on defense as the other cornerback. In the off chance that a receiver gets away from these two defenders, Maroon Tide’s ball hawk free safety Jeremiah Stallings will be waiting.

In last week’s game against a potent D’Iberville offense, Stallings intercepted two Warrior passes. Also, in front of the secondary is a talented middle linebacker, Brian Taylor, who uses his speed to make plays sideline to sideline and his strength to become a dominant threat in the running game.

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The Pascagoula Panthers split its first two games, starting the season with a convincing 26-6 win over Moss Point only to follow that up with a 36-0 loss to Gulf Breeze in Florida.

The Panthers will have its hands full with Tide’s feature running back Anderson, who is the leading rusher and receiver for the Maroon Tide with 218 rushing yards and a touchdown and two touchdown catches for 53 yards. The senior running back ran for over 100 yards in his initial games this season and said he doesn’t plan on ending that streak Friday.

“Everything we do involves a full team effort; I wouldn’t be able to make plays without my offensive line making plays or my quarterback doing what he has to do. It all comes down to who wants it more and who has the most heart,” Anderson said. “For this game, we hope to do what we did against D’Iberville, but even better.”

Picayune (1-1) hosts its last home game for the next three weeks against Pascagoula (1-1) on Friday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.