On Friday night, Picayune will host the unbeaten Hattiesburg Tigers in a game that will most likely decide the Region 4-Class 5A top seed for the upcoming playoffs. It's a matchup that will become a test of wills before the evening comes to a close.
Hattiesburg (8-0, 4-0) has scored 56,62,56,and 60 points in their Region games and before that they hung 43 on a pretty good Class 6-A Oak Grove team.
Their offense looks like a track meet with a football for a baton; it's fast and faster.
Led by dual threat quarterback Jarod Conner (5-10, 194, Jr) who has thrown for 1,402 yards (14 TDs) and ran for a team leading 726 yards (17 TDs). The guy who will line up in the backfield with Conner is Fabian Franklin (6-0,210,Sr.), a Mississippi verbal commit. Franklin has tallied 435 yards rushing the football.
The receivers are the most talented group the Maroon Tide will have played thus far in 2017. Darius Ruffin (5-10, 195, Jr.) has 36 catches for 571 yards with 3 TDs and D'Andre Humbles has 23 grabs for 448 yards and 7 TDs. They are a handful and no one has been able to slow them down so far.
Defensively, the Tigers are led by two sport standout Dexter Jordan (6-0,195,Sr.) who plays linebacker, defensive linemen William Robinson (6-3, 207, Sr.) and Letrelle Johnson (6-0, 245,Sr.).
Picayune's offense has been getting better each week, but the Maroon Tide can ill afford to turn the ball over against Hattiesburg with their quick strike ability.
Shaun Anderson has turned in back to back high energy games resulting in 404 and 292 yard games scoring 9 TDs in those games. His offensive lineman will need to create some seams for Anderson and the other Maroon Tide backs if Picayune is going to have a chance at beating the Tigers.
The Maroon Tide (7-1, 4-0) defense has been suspect to the big play and can't allow the Tigers to do the same. Picayune's Brian Taylor (5-10, 205, Sr.) who leads the team with 68 tackles, will be key along with Rashard Johnson (6-1, 175, Sr) and Jacob Brumley (5-10, 225, Sr.) in keeping Connor from getting loose and also in applying pressure in passing situations to the pressure off their cohorts in the defensive secondary.
The game will be on WRJW 1320 AM, wrjwradio.com, WRJW smart phone app, and the Tune In app. Carey Meitzler, Todd Meitzler, and Donald Balch begin coverage at 6:30pm on the Paw Paw's Campers & Cars Pregame Show.