Undefeated season ends with heartbreaking loss in state final
The Maroon Tide was dominant all year in Head Coach Dodd Lee’s final season of coaching.
Heading into the season, Lee said the offensive and defensive lines would serve as the team’s cornerstones and he was right as Picayune controlled the line of scrimmage against every team they faced.
Senior running back Cameron Thomas was starting at running back after spending the previous season at cornerback, Thomas’ speed made him a big play threat all season.
The Maroon Tide started the season with a 41-6 drubbing of D’Iberville.
Thomas had a breakout performance with 201 yards on the ground while the defense shut down the warriors as senior linebacker Kade Turnage led the team in tackles this past season.
After D’Iberville, Picayune took on Meridian and once again the Maroon Tide ran away with the game crushing the Wildcats 63-7.
Picayune had its first away game the following week when it traveled to Gulfport to take on the Admirals. The Maroon Tide held on to defeat the Admirals 54-47 in what ended up being its closest game of the season.
The game against Gulfport was the start of a three game road trip as Picayune traveled to Poplarville and East Central the following two weeks. County rival Poplarville fell 53-13 and so did East Central 35-14 as Picayune kept the undefeated streak alive. Picayune was back home on Oct. 4 to take on the Gautier Gators.
Defensively Picayune blanked the Gators and the offense had another great performance en route to a 55-0 victory.
A road game followed the match up against Gautier as Picayune traveled to Hattiesburg in another key district game.
Hattiesburg had an athletic team, but not enough firepower to stick with Picayune as the Maroon Tide won 48-15.
The Maroon Tide started a three game home stand on Oct. 18 against Long Beach and dominated the Bearcats 64-0. In a game that would be moved to Saturday due to inclement weather, Picayune took on county rival Pearl River Central and beat the Blue Devils 61-7 as the team kept building momentum for a deep playoff run.
The final two games of the regular season took place against Pascagoula and at Wayne County.
Picayune dropped Pascagoula 63-14, but had to fight against Wayne County for a victory. The two teams were tied at halftime, but Picayune’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half as the offense kept scoring to earn a 49-28 victory over the War Eagles. Picayune’s victory against Wayne County capped an undefeated regular season for the Maroon Tide and sent the team into the playoffs riding high. A first round match up against Brookhaven saw Picayune continue its dominance with a 49-10 victory.
The following week Picayune took on a talented Laurel Golden Tornadoes team.
Picayune’s experienced team showed its savvy with a 42-28 win against Laurel that propelled the team to the South State Championship.
Picayune took on West Jones with the winner moving forward to the 5A state title game.
The Maroon Tide would not be denied and ran rampant against the Mustangs, finishing the game with a score of 49-14.
Picayune had the chance to send Lee into retirement with a state title when the team took on West Point at the University of Southern Mississippi’s football field on Saturday Dec. 7.
However, it wasn’t meant to be and after a physical game, Picayune lost to the Green Wave 38-26. After his final game on the sideline Lee said he was proud of his team’s effort, even if they didn’t come out with a victory. “I thought we had our chances, but our kids never gave up,” Lee said.
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