Maroon Tide rises up to sink Admirals
Carey Meitzler - WRJW Sports
Audio replay of the WRJW broadcast of the game (Click Here)
Gulfport—Picayune trailed Gulfport 21-0 midway through the second quarter, but fought back with 28 unanswered points to beat the Admirals 28-21 at Milner Stadium.
The Admirals wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with a 6 play 61 yard drive to start the game with the touchdown coming on a 27 yard pass from Nico Williams to Gavin Brown with 9:47 left in the quarter.
Picayune had to punt the ball away on its first two possessions. After the second Maroon Tide punt, Gulfport extended the lead to 14-0 on Dakoreyon Payton’s 61 yard run with :29 left in the first quarter.
Gulfport scored again with 5:06 left in the half on a 38 yard pass from Williams to Cameron Joseph.
Down 21-0, Picayune responded with an 8 play 52 yard drive that produced an 11 yard touchdown pass from Brady Robertson to Kyler King. The point after kick was good by Jamal Simmons with 1:02 left in the half.
Picayune got the ball first in the third quarter and moved the ball from its 33 to the Admiral’s 15 where a Maroon Tide fumble stopped the drive.
Picayune’s defense forced a punt and the Maroon Tide start offense took over at its 34. Twelve plays later, Darrell Smith slashed in from 8 yards out for a touchdown and the Simmons’ extra point made it 21-14 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
Gulfport took the ensuing kickoff starting the possession at its own 34. The Admirals moved the ball to the Picayune 27. On fourth down, Jamonta Waller sacked Williams to give the ball back to the Maroon Tide offense at the 32 yardline.
Photos courtesy of DeAnna Hunt Photography
Jamonta Waller (11) & Amarion Tyson (29)
Facing fourth down and three to go from the 38, Brady Robertson faked a handoff, put the ball on his hip momentarily, and bulled his way around left end for six yards and the first down to keep the drive alive. Six plays later, Smith busted loose for a 34 yard touchdown run and Simmons’ point after tied the game at 21-21 with 5:48 left in the game.
After the kickoff, Gulfport took over at its 33 and converted a first down. On third down, Williams attempted a pass to the sideline to his left, but Niquis Ratcliff stepped in front of the intended receiver to intercept the pass and raced 40 yards for the go ahead touchdown. Simmons kicked the extra point to give Picayune a 28-21 lead with 2:40 left.
Gulfport got the ball at its 35 after the kickoff and moved the ball to the Picayune 8 with a first and goal with :39 left. Facing fourth and goal after three incomplete passes, Williams was sacked by a host of Maroon Tide defenders led by Amarion Tyson who made the first contact on Williams. Picayune then took one snap and a knee to seal the win.
An exhausted Head Coach Cody Stogner was proud of his team’s comeback.
“At halftime, we just asked them did they believe we could comeback. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to handle it. These guys showed up and showed out,” he said. “The guts and will of these guys is amazing.”
Defensive coordinator Seth Hayden explained the mindset on the fourth down play.
“During their timeout, I decided we were not going to let the quarterback sit there and wait for his receivers to get in the end zone. We brought six (rushers) and knew they would have a hard time blocking everyone.”
Chris Davis was injured and left the game after just two carries. Smith and Ratcliff split duty at tailback. Smith ran for 194 yards on 24 carries and Ratcliff had 17 carries for 82 yards.
Picayune (3-1) will host Ocean Springs on Friday.