Hornets fall to Maroon Tide in season opener

Published 11:33 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

This story has been updated to correct the name of the player who caught the two point conversion pass for the Maroon Tide in the fourth quarter.

A head to head hometown rivalry ended with the first win for Picayune’s Maroon Tide when they beat the Poplarville Hornets 28-20.

The first half of the game was dominated by the Tide’s offense, putting 20 of their points on the board before halftime with two field goals and two touchdowns.

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Maroon Tide Head Coach Dodd Lee said that the teams freshman kicker did well, but there is some room for improvement in connecting on plays and preventing fumbles.

“I’m proud of these kids,” Lee said after Friday’s game. “We beat a pretty good football team, I think everyone knows that.”

Hornets’ Head Coach Jay Beech said he was proud of his kids for not giving up and chalked the loss up to being out-coached by Lee.

The Tide would get on the board early in the first quarter with 11 yards to go on a second down when Tide quarterback Jakial Myers completed a 40 yard pass to Curdevone Jackson, setting the Tide up for an attempt at the end zone. But the downs ran out, forcing Lee to send in freshman kicker Arnie Ramirez who connected on an eight-yard field goal with 7:25 left on the clock.

The Tide would add to their score with the clock winding down in the first quarter on third down and one when Jortin Raine ran the ball from the 48 yard line, setting the Tide up within reach of the endzone from the 12 yard line. The team would capitalize on that vantage point three plays later when Myers completed a seven yard pass to Jaylen Hart, bringing the score to 10-0 with 2:21 left in the first combined with Ramirez’s successful PAT.

Dylan Shabault would contribute to the Tide’s scoreboard with a four yard run in the second quarter with a touchdown of his own. With 7:15 left in the second, Ramirez completed his third attempt to put the ball between the uprights, this time for his second PAT, making the score 17-0.

Ramirez evened the score out at 20-0 late in the second after a turnover and eight plays brought him in striking distance of the posts. His successful 14-yard field goal attempt occurred with 2:03 left to play in the first half.

But Poplarville made a presence on the scoreboard before the end of the half. With 51 seconds left before halftime, Antonio Barnes completed a six-yard pass to Chase Shears. A successful PAT by Ethan Spiers put the score at 20-7 before they headed to the locker rooms.

In the third, the Hornets would score again early. With less than two minutes taken from the clock, Ahmad Bolton carried the ball a yard to add seven more points to the board with the successful PAT from Spiers. The score was 20-14 with 10:06 left in the third.

The rest of the third would go without points being added to the board as the two teams utilized effective defensive strategies.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Tide would widen its lead when Myers utilized a quarterback sneak to carry the ball the final yard to cross the endzone.

His vantage point came through the team’s efforts in three plays due to a botched punt return by the Hornets, giving the Tide exceptional field advantage.

Instead of a PAT, the Tide scored on a two point conversion when Myers completed a pass to Juvonta Raymond, putting the score at 28-14 with 3:58 left to play.

The Hornets had one last scoring drive that came when

Barnes connected with Ray for a more than 55-yard pass setting them up at the three yard line. Two plays later, Bolton crossed the endzone. A failed PAT attempt left the score at 28-20.

The Tide will travel to D’Iberville next Friday, while the Hornets will face the Pearl River Central Blue Devils on their home turf.