Maroon Tide holds on to defeat Gulfport 41-34

Picayune-The Picayune Maroon Tide jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Gulfport and held off the Admirals for a 41-34 win at Lee-Triplett Stadium.


After a lightning delay pushed by the start of the game back 22 minutes, Picayune methodically marched the ball 80 yards in 12 plays using 6:39 of time with senior Austin Samples scoring on a 3 yard run. Freshman Morgan Craft kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.


On Gulfport’s first possession, Josh Tatum intercepted a pass giving the ball to the Maroon Tide at the Admiral 49. It took Picayune 10 plays to punch it in with Samples scoring on a 4 yard run with 10:13 left in the second quarter. Craft booted the point after for 14-0 lead.


Photo by Chayse Dorn/WRJW Sports

Peyton Waddell (12) surveys the Gulfport formation.

Picayune scored a special team touchdown on the Gulfport possession after the Maroon Tide kickoff. The Admiral punter watched the snap sailed over his head into the end zone and was able to retrieve the ball and get away a desperation punt. Nick Doane grabbed the punt on a bounce at the 8 yard line and ran it in for a touchdown. The point after try never materialized with a bad exchange on the pass back. The Maroon Tide led 20-0 with 8:25 left in the half.


Gulfport got on the scoreboard on their next possession when Emmanuel Bentley scored on a 6 yard run with 6:19 to go in the half. Tres Ladner’s extra point made it 20-7.


Picayune took over at their 20 after Ladner kicked the ball into the end zone for a touch back. The Maroon Tide covered the 80 yards in 6 plays with Samples scoring his third touchdown of the half, his fifth of the season, on a 12 yard run with 2:48 left in the half. Craft stayed perfect on his extra points to make it 27-6.


Gulfport came right back with a touchdown on its possession on a 27 yard pass from Breck Leflore to Lushawn Griffin. The point after bounced off the left upright leaving the score at 27-13 with 1:26 left in the half.


After forcing an Admiral punt on the first possession of the second half, Picayune moved the ball from its 20 to the Gulfport 15 before turning the ball over on downs. Gulfport scored on the first play after the change of possession on a 85 yard touchdown pass from Leflore to Lashaun Crawford. Ladner’s point after made it 27-20 with 3:59 left in the third quarter.


The Maroon Tide got a great return on the ensuing kickoff from Jayshawn Lee as he took the ball in at his 17 and maneuvered through the Gulfport coverage team setting up Picayune offense at the Admiral 27. Five plays later, Isaac Hickman scored on 1 yard plunge and with Craft’s extra point, the lead was 34-20 with 1:13 left in the third quarter.


Gulfport answered with an 8 play drive scoring on a 2 yard run by Tyler Reed with 10:47 left in the fourth quarter. Ladner kicked the extra point making the score 34-27.


Picayune answered with an 8 play drive covering 80 yards with sophomore Darnell Smith scoring from 9 yards out. Craft split the uprights to give Picayune a 41-27 lead with 6:42 left in the game. During the drive, senior quarterback Isaac Hickman gained 39 yards on a third and short run that started out as a quarterback sneak.


Gulfport scored with 2:05 to play on a 17 yard pass from Leflore to Nehemiah Jefferson and Ladner’s point after make it 41-34.


The Admirals recovered an onside kick getting the ball at Picayune 49. On third down, Hickman blitzed from the left side and sack Leflore for a 10 yard loss. A fourth down pass fell incomplete at the Maroon Tide 40 yard line. Picayune took a knee on three snaps to run out the clock.


Photo by Chayse Dorn/WRJW Sports

“Give our guys credit, they found a way to win the game. I thought we had a chance to put them away early, but we didn’t. We did a lot of good things, but we’ve got to get better on special teams, “ Stogner stated.

“Our quarterback (Hickman) ran the ball well, he blocked, and ran the offense well. That was a big play he made on defense. He’s a great football player. If we had eleven like him we would win about every game we played.”


Samples led Picayune with 23 rushes for 103. Hickman added 71 yards on 6 carries. Picayune ran for a team total of 333 yards.


Picayune (2-0) will host Poplarville (0-2) on Friday and Gulfport (0-2) will host Pearl River Central (0-2).

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