Maroon Tide trounces West Jones 49-14 to advance to state championship
Audio replay of Picayune / West Jones (Click Here)
Soso—The Picayune Maroon Tide football team waited 365 days for a chance to play West Jones again and they made the most of it with a resounding 49-14 win in front of approximately 5,000 plus fans at Mustang Stadium.
Picayune lost to West Jones in last year’s South State title game played at Picayune and Coach Dodd Lee said that game had an impact on his team going into this season.
“I knew from the moment we walked off the field last year this team would be special if they put in the work. Their attitude and work ethic has been amazing. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do and more,” Lee said before the playoffs started about his expectations for his team.
Picayune scored on a 1 yard keeper by Isaac Hickman with 8:28 left in the first quarter to cap off a 7 play 38 yard drive. The Maroon Tide got a great return of the opening kickoff from Jashawn Lee as he took the ball in at his own 20 and raced across the field to his right and got to sideline before being tackled at the Mustang 38.
West Jones responded quickly to tie the game at 7-7 with a three play drive, with their touchdown coming on a 4 yard run by Kentrell Pruitt with 7:44 left in the quarter.
After an exchange of punts, Picayune’s Cameron Thomas raced in from 24 yards out for a touchdown and Samples second point after made it 14-7 with 3:04 left in the first stanza.
Photo by Carey Meitzler
Cameron Thomas (8) takes in a pitch and runs the ball on first drive
Jalen Hall got the ball back for the Maroon Tide with an interception at the West Jones 31 and Jakail Myers scored on a quarterback sneak from 1 yard out on the first play of the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-7 with 11:56 left in the half.
Photo by Carey Meitzler
Jakail Myers (9) sneaks in for a Tide touchdown
Picayune held West Jones and forced a punt on the first possession of the third quarter.
Starting at their own 47, the Maroon Tide offensive front started to take control of the line of scrimmage and Thomas got free on the sixth play of the drive for a 31 yard touchdown run with 7:33 left in the third quarter. Samples extra point made it 28-7.
West Jones scored on a fourth down pass from 19 yards out from Alan Follis to Tajrick Randolph with 1:03 left in the third quarter to make it 28-14.
Picayune was forced to punt the ball away on their next possession, but they got the ball back quickly when Austin Samples stripped the ball from Follis and Samples recovered at the Mustang 18.
Kade Turnage scored on the next play as he literally ran over a Mustang linebacker on his way to the end zone. Samples point after made it 35-14.
After another solid defensive effort by the Maroon Tide defense, West Jones punted the ball away and it came to rest at the Picayune 13. On the first play, Thomas took the handoff and raced down the right sideline untouched for his 46th rushing touchdown of the year to put Picayune up 42-14 with 8:45 left in the game.
Dante Dowdell closed out the scoring for Picayune with a 5 yard run with 1:25 left.
Photos by Deanna Hunt Photography
Dodd Lee was pleased with his team’s effort, especially his defense.
“They’ve gotten better all year and they are really just now understanding the system that we are using. They are peaking right here at a good time.”
On the play of Cameron Thomas, Lee said, “He had two shots this week for his ankle. Cam said he woke up at midnight last night and said it felt real good. God is good.”
Thomas finished with 241 yards on 22 carries to lead the Maroon Tide.
Picayune held West Jones to 76 yards rushing and 149 yards passing.
On his team’s next opponent, perennial power West Point, Lee said,
“We’ve got to get healthy. We will have to have a great effort and hopefully have a chance to win it in the fourth quarter.”
“I love these kids and I know you all do too.”
Picayune will play West Point on Saturday at 7:00 pm at USM’s M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.