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Picayune up to the task of taking on tough Pascagoula team

Picayune’s Maroon Tide football team is coming off a 48-7 victory over the Pearl River Central Blue Devils last Friday evening.

Defeating the county rivals kept Picayune undefeated and upped its win streak to eight straight games.

Now the Maroon Tide will look to clinch the district championship this week when Picayune takes on the Pascagoula Panthers Oct. 30.

A boon for the Maroon Tide heading into this week’s matchup is that the team has been able to play younger players during certain games because of the team’s large lead.

Head Coach Cody Stogner said getting his younger guys on the field is a must during a normal year, but especially so during this COVID-19 pandemic with starters possibly having to quarantine for extended periods of time.

“You can’t mimic game speed in practice. There’s no better practice than playing games where you have to give maximum effort, be focused and be intense. It’s a good opportunity to get some younger guys time to play,” Stogner said.

One such player who’s been becoming more and more active for the Maroon Tide has been sophomore Dante Dowdell.

Dowdell got a decent amount of touches last year as a freshman running back, but this year he also split time as a defensive lineman.

Stogner said the sophomore’s return from injury, and performances carrying the ball, bodes well for Picayune as it balances carries between Dowdell, Dorian Robinson and Austin Samples.

“He’s done a lot of growing up this year and is going through a little bit of adversity. We’re working to get him back into good shape. It’s nice to have him in the backfield this time of year to get some fresh legs (on the field). It’s good to have the options back there we have and we’re going to continue working all three (running backs),” Stogner said.

Picayune crushed Pascagoula 63-14 last year and hopes to replicate that result this week.

A win would seal a district championship and number one seed for the Maroon Tide, so the pressure is on to perform Friday. Stogner said the familiarity between the two teams will make the matchup an interesting one, but one the Maroon Tide is intent on emerging victorious from.

“(Pascagoula Head Coach Lewis Sims) is going to have his team to ready to play and it’s going to be a really good football game. We’ll have a long travel, but we’re preparing to go win a district championship Friday night,” Stogner said.

Kickoff between the two teams is scheduled at 7 p.m. and the matchup will be an away game for Picayune.