Picayune and West Point to tangle on Saturday for Class 5A State Championship
Picayune will play the West Point Green Wave on Saturday in the Class 5A State Championship game at USM’s M.M. Roberts Stadium at 7:00 p.m. The Maroon Tide won the Class 5A championship in 2011 and 2013 and wants to get one more title for Head Coach Dodd Lee who will be coaching his last game for Picayune on Saturday evening.
Picayune's Dodd Lee in his team’s locker room with the 2019 South State trophy.
West Point, under the direction of Coach Chris Chambless, will be trying to win its fourth consecutive championship. According to the Mississippi High School Activities Association website, South Panola is the only team to have won four consecutive titles when they accomplished that feat with five championships from 2003 through 2007. West Point has ten state titles since the inception of the playoff system in 1981.
Picayune, in addition to 2011 and 2013, won a state championship in 1986.
Lee was the defensive coordinator for the 1986 team that defeated Clarksdale 24-6 at Mississippi College to win the title.
Prior to this season, Lee announced that he planned for 2019 to be his last season at the helm of the Picayune football program, a program he has built to be one of the most consistent in the state by fine tuning his approach every year. Lee has molded the Maroon Tide into a team that everyone who has heard of Lee's teams knows they can run the football effectively.
"A lot of people don't see what we see. We've tweaked things every year in our offense, added a few things and we've changed it a lot more than people think, but the main thing is our players buy in and believe in what our coaches are telling them. It works because of their attitude and effort," Lee said during an interview on WRJW's My Town just before the playoffs began.
Both Picayune and West Point rely on a strong running game. Picayune is led by senior tailback Cameron Thomas with 46 rushing touchdowns (he has also caught 2 TD passes) on 270 carries for 3,371 yards behind stellar play from his offensive line of center Collen Penton, guards Garrett Hunter and Kaylup Jones, tackles Jay Mickle and Deonta Reed. Junior Austin Samples has 649 yards and 10 TDs and senior fullback Kade Turnage has 576 yards and 8 TDs. As a team, Picayune has ran for 6,081 yards.
Thomas needs 30 yards to set the single season rushing record previously held by Ruleville Central's Noah Ingram.
West Point primarily uses three running backs, with two of them having rushed for over 1,000 yards. Senior Brandon Harris, who lines up at both quarterback and running back in the Green Wave shotgun offensive set has 1,191 yards on 196 carries with 18 TDs. Senior Dantarius Cannon has run the ball 117 times for 1,106 yards and 14 TDs. Senior Jimothy Mays has 874 yards on 140 carries with 12 TDs. West Point has a team total of 3,918 yards rushing.
When Coach Dodd Lee was asked about West Point after looking at them on film, he was impressed.
“Their backs are big, real big. They look like guards lined up in the backfield. They do a great job running and blocking.”
West Point averages 33.6 points per game and Picayune is averaging 51.7 points per game.
Tomorrow, we take another look at the West Point – Picayune matchup.
WRJW 1320 AM coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday with the Paw Paw’s Campers and Cars Pre-Game Show.