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Waynesboro—Wayne County and Picayune were tied at halftime, but the Maroon Tide controlled the second half and earned the region’s top seed for the playoffs with a 49-28 win at War Eagle Stadium.
Picayune turned the ball over on downs on the first possession of the game at the Wayne County 15.
The War Eagles punted the ball back and Picayune took over at its 29. On the fifth play of the possession, Austin Samples raced in from 44 yards out to put Picayune up 7-0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter after Samples also kicked the extra point.
Wayne County answered with a 74 run by Zhakerreun Wesley and the Nathan Busby point after tied the game at 7-7 with :40 left in the first quarter.
Photos courtesy of Paul Keane / The Wayne County News
Cam Thomas (8) takes off on a run
Chad Dudenhefer (22) and Austin Samples (2) combined for a tackle
Picayune answered on their next possession on a 1 yard run by Isaac Hickman with 10:07 left in the second quarter. Samples had a 52 yard run to set up the touchdown. The extra point was no good and Picayune led 13-7.
Wesley scored again, this time from 46 yards out, to take the lead at 14-13 with 9:15 left after the Busby extra point.
Wayne County capitalized on a Maroon Tide turnover picking up a fumble at midfield and Bakari Everett scooped up the ball and ran it 48 yards for a touchdown and another Busby extra point made it 21-13 with 4:46 left in the half.
Cameron Thomas answered the War Eagle score on the first play after the kickoff with an 82 yard touchdown run. Picayune converted a two point conversion on a pass from Hickman to Samples to tied the game at 21-21 with 4:32 left in the second quarter.
Photo by Donald Balch
Picayune players and coaches huddle up during a time out at Wayne County
Wayne County scored on their possession after the Picayune kickoff with a 6 play drive with a Shadamien Williamson touchdown run of 29 yard run and Busby made it 28-21 with 2:32 on the clock.
Picayune then drove 70 yards on 7 plays with Jalen Hall scoring on fourth and goal from the 1 yard line with :06. Thomas had a 63 yard run in the drive that put the ball at the War Eagle 4 yard line. Samples kicked the extra point to tie the game 28-28.
Picayune forced Wayne County to punt on the first possession of the third quarter and the Maroon Tide offense went 59 yards on 8 plays with Thomas scoring on a 3 yard run with 5:01 left in the third quarter. Samples’ extra point was good for a 35-28 lead.
Picayune got the ball back when Kade Turnage made a leaping one hand interception at the Wayne County 48 and returned the ball to the War Eagle 25.
On first down, Hickman connected with Hall for a 23 pass play and then Hickman ran it in on the next play for the touchdown. Samples’ point after made it 42-28 with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
Wayne County took the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball to the Picayune 2 yard line. On fourth down, Picayune’s Chad Dudenhefer tackled the Wayne County ball carrier short of the first down marker.
Picayune fumbled the ball three plays later and Wayne County got it back at the Maroon Tide 2. After two penalties against the War Eagles, they attempted that was intercepted by Leonard Taylor at the 3 yard line.
The Maroon Tide offense turned to Turnage to get some breathing room and he responded with runs of 43 and 42 yards helping set up Picayune with a first and goal at the War Eagle 4 yard line. On fourth down, Hickman complete a pass to Turnage for the touchdown and Samples kicked the extra point for a 49-28 lead with 6:18 left in the game.
Thomas finished with 269 yards on 21 carries and Sample added 151 yards on 16 rushes. Turnage had 4 rushes for 89 yards. Hickman ran for 24 yards on 6 carries and completed 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards.
Picayune (11-0), the region champion with the win, will start the playoffs with a home game against Brookhaven on Friday at Lee-Triplett Stadium.
Other games next week in the South State playoffs are as follows:
Pascagoula (6-5) at Laurel (9-2)
East Central (7-4) at West Jones (11-0)
Forest Hill (5-7) at Wayne County (8-3)