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Picayune mauls Gautier to win South State

Audio replay of the game (Click Here)

Picayune-The Picayune Maroon Tide used a punishing ground game on offense and a smothering defensive effort to defeat the Gautier Gators 49-14 to capture its 2nd straight South State title. The win puts the Maroon Tide (14-0) in the State Championship game on Friday against West Point.

Photo by Donald Balch/WRJW Sports

Head Coach Cody Stogner celebrates with his team after their win

Picayune’s defense stopped Gautier on the first possession of the game to force a punt. The Maroon Tide offense promptly marched 63 yards on 12 plays using 6 mins and 6 seconds of clock. Dante Dowdell scored on a 6 yard run with 4:35 left on the clock and Morgan Craft booted the point after for a 7-0 lead.

Gautier answered with a 78 yard touchdown pass from Kaden Irving to Aaron Phillips with 2:53 left in the quarter. The extra point attempt was thwarted on a bad snap.

Picayune countered with a 36 yard touchdown run by Darnell Smith on the first play of the second quarter and the Craft extra point made it 14-6 with 11:52 left in the half.

The Maroon Tide defense game the offense a short field on an interception by Damarius Magee at the Gator 22. Five plays later, Dowdell scored on a 1 yard plunge and Craft was true on the PAT for a 21-6 lead with 5:38 left in the half.

Gautier answered with a 46 yard pass from Irving to Dillon Alfred and the Gators were successful on a two point conversion by Irving to make it 21-14 with 3:20 left.

After the Gautier kickoff, Picayune had to punt the ball away on its possession and Gautier started at their own 31 with 1:35 left in the half. After converting a pair of first downs, the Gautier had the ball at the Maroon Tide 38 with :14 left. On first down, Irving’s pass attempt was deflected and intercepted by Jamonta Waller to end the threat.

Photo by Randy Brown

Nathan Hickman makes a tackle on a Gautier receiver.

Picayune’s offense made a statement, and essentially put the game away, on the first possession of the third quarter with a 15 play 70 yard drive using 7 minutes and 46 seconds off the clock. Dowdell slashed in from 4 yards out for the touchdown and Craft, who was perfect on the night with his extra points, booted it through for a 28-14 lead with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

Photo by Randy Brown/WRJW Sports

Donte Dowdell (2) had another solid game for Picayune.

Jessiah Contee got the ball back for Picayune with an interception in the end zone that he returned out to the Maroon Tide 30. Four plays later, Dowdell raced 76 yards down the Picayune sideline, breaking two tackles and hurdling over two more attempted tackles, to make it 35-14 after the Craft extra point.

After a Gautier punt, Picayune scored on a 28 yard run by “Quick” Chris Davis with 7:08 left in the game.

Davis got the ball back for the offense with an interception by Davis at the Gator 40. Dowdell scored his 28th touchdown of the season on a 28 yard run to close out the scoring.

Picayune ran for 414 yards with Dowdell tallying 247 on 29 carries. Smith added 99 yard on 14 rushes and Davis added 67 yards on 7 carries.

West Point beat Vicksburg 14-0 to advance to next week’s game.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at USM’s M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.



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