Maroon Tide defense propels 35-21 win over Gulfport
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Gulfport—Two defensive touchdowns, two explosive plays by Noah Carter, and a bend but done break defensive mentality was what Picayune used to beat the Gulfport Admirals at Joseph Milner Stadium.
After the two teams exchanged punts on their first possessions, Picayune’s Jamonta Waller knocked the ball away from Admiral quarterback and he also pounced on the loose ball at the Picayune 42.
Three plays later, Noah Carter took a handoff from Donte Dowdell, who received an initial handoff from Picayune quarterback Dawson Underwood, and raced 56 yards for a touchdown. Morgan Craft booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
Gulfport answered on its possession after the kickoff with a 6 play drive that produced a 1 yard touchdown run by Tyler Reed. The Dax Dotson point after made it 7-7 with 1:28 on the first quarter clock.
Picayune’s Chris Davis blocked an Admiral 37 yard field goal two possessions later to keep the game tied.
After another Maroon Tide punt, Gulfport got the ball back at its 29 and moved the ball to the Picayune 32 on five plays. On the sixth play, Dorian Robinson forced a fumble separating Admiral quarterback Jacob Palozzi from the ball and Amarion Tyson scoop it up and streaked 60 yards for the touchdown. Craft’s point after was true again giving the Maroon Tide a 14-7 lead with 3:25 left in the half.
Picayune finally produced a first down on the initial possession of the second half, a possession that ended with a 14 yard touchdown run by Darnell Smith to put the Maroon Tide up 21-7 after Craft tacked on the extra point with 8:28 left in the quarter.
The Maroon Tide defense forced a Gulfport punt and the offense took over at its own 7 yard line. Three plays later, Underwood connected with Carter for a 94 yard touchdown pass with 5:53 left in the quarter. Craft once again kicked the extra point and Picayune led 28-7.
Gulfport put points on the scoreboard with a fumble return for a touchdown to make it 28-14 with 8:16 left in the game.
On Picayune’s first play after the kickoff, the Maroon Tide fumbled the ball and the Admirals took over at their own 48. Three plays later Nicholas Williams threw a 41 yard touchdown pass to Prince Cottonham with 5:27 left.
Picayune’s next possession ended when the Maroon Tide turned the ball over on downs at the Admiral 29.
On the first play after the change of possession, Niguis Ratcliff step in front of a Gulfport receiver and intercepted a pass and ran it in for a 40 yard touchdown to push the final score to 35-21 after the Craft point after.
Coach Cody Stogner was pleased about his team’s effort.
“I am so proud of our defense and I can’t say enough about those guys. We had about 6 three and outs. They kept us in the ballgame. Offensively, that was the worst half of offense we’ve ever had. We had a little come to Jesus meeting at the half and came out and executed to start the second half”
On Noah Carter’s performance, Stogner stated, “Noah’s a guy we count on. He works his butt off in practice, he’s a great student. We depend on him to do so much for this team.”
Picayune (3-0) travels to D’Iberville (3-0) on Friday for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.