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Picayune soccer looking to find consistency

A shift in formation heading into the season has resulted in the Picayune boys soccer team going through some growing pains.

Players are adjusting to new positions and are using game experience to improve.

For Head Coach Britton Fortenberry, the main focus has been finding consistency from his players game to game.

Over the weekend Picayune played two games, one against Pascagoula and one against D’Iberville.

The first game of the day was against Pascagoula and the Maroon Tide won comfortably 2-0.

The following match up against D’Iberville was a tough one after Picayune lost a player to a red card. The Maroon Tide lost 6-0.

Both games were in preparation for the start of district play on Tuesday when Picayune took on the Long Beach Bearcats.

The teams were tied at halftime 1-1, but once again Picayune lost a player to a red card and the Bearcats took advantage.

The final score was 4-1, but Fortenberry said there were some positives to be taken from the team’s performance.

“We did some good things and there were some bad things. We had some good spots, but when you’re a man down it’s tough,” Fortenberry said.

One positive throughout the season has been the performance of center back Joshua Thomas.

The towering Maroon Tide defender can win aerial battles, take one on ones and has good ball possession skills.

Thomas is only a junior, but Fortenberry has been coaching the defender since he was in 7th grade.

Fortenberry said Thomas’ development has been impressive and that he’ll only continue to get better.

“He’s sleeping and breathing this, it’s been really fun to watch his development. I’m excited to see him grow into a leader,” Fortenberry said. An area of improvement for the Maroon Tide has been the usage of outside backs and spreading the ball out wide. This allows Picayune to move the ball more effectively while also pulling opposing players out of position.

The Maroon Tide can overload one side of the field using a run from an outside back and can create scoring opportunities from that position.

“It’s been great in spots and other times it goes away. We got some really good plays from our outside backs whipping in crosses,” Fortenberry said.

Now on the schedule for Picayune is an important game against the Hattiesburg Tigers.

It’ll be the second district game for Picayune and comes at an important crossroads for the team.

The goal for Picayune is always to get in the playoffs so starting district play with a 0-2 record would be a tough mountain to climb for the Maroon Tide if the team loses to the Tigers.

“That game is huge, I’d say it’s probably as close to a must win game to have any hopes of making playoffs. We need to win this game if we want to make it out of this district,” Fortenberry said.

The match against the Tigers is set for Dec. 13 and will start at 7 p.m.