Picayune striving for a state title

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Smashmouth football starts with dominating the line of scrimmage and running the ball down the opposing team’s throat. That’s exactly what Head Coach Dodd Lee and Picayune’s varsity football team want to do, and they believe in their system.

After a narrow defeat in the state semi final last season, Lee and the team are looking to get back to the mountaintop this year.

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The expectation is that the squad will go out and win a state championship, and the athletes’ work ethic will determine the team’s success.

“I think our kids work harder than any other kids in Mississippi,” Lee said.

“We work hard enough to be good, and that’s what we sell here.”

In a system predicated on running the football and being stifling on the defensive end, the Maroon Tide has seen a lot of success during Lee’s tenure as coach.

Lee has been at the school for 23 years, and during those years the team has made the playoffs 20 times.

“We’re trying to win and that’s what gives us the best chance,” Lee said.

Lee said the team is returning six starters on both sides of the ball, and that experience will prove valuable as players try to win a state championship.

“Seniors are always going to be the backbone of the program,” Lee said.

With so many starters returning, the squad hopes to achieve the objectives the coaches set for them.

“The goal is perfection knowing you’ll never get there,” Lee said.

Lee said that his is a footwork team, meaning they preach the basics of football during practice.

This includes how to step properly with the correct foot, lining up precisely and going through the sets as offensive and defensive units.

“Do what you’re supposed to do and react to what the other person does,” Lee said.

“We obviously want them to react a certain way, but that’s not guaranteed.”

Repetition is key in a game like football because it allows players to do what they’re supposed to during pressure situations.

They aren’t thinking about their keys, they already know what to do and where to go.

That kind of understanding is something that takes a lot of practice, and Lee said his athletes’ commitment to the sport is what allows them to be so successful on the field.

“I think their dedication and belief in what they’re doing is what makes them successful,” Lee said.

“We talk about the kids’ efforts and attitudes is what makes them successful and our attitude has to be better.”

At the end of the day, for Lee and his staff, they just want to see the players giving it their all and leaving everything on the field.

“If they put in more effort than others, they’ll be successful,” Lee said.

“I always relate it to basketball.”

“If I shoot 100 free throws and you shoot 1,000 free throws, well then, you’re going to be the better free throw shooter.”

During the summer months, the team will be focusing on weight lifting and conditioning.

Lee said he tries to have his players come to 20 workouts during the offseason, and that the work they put in now will pay off in the long run.

“It’s all about putting them in a situation where they can have a chance to be successful,” Lee said.