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Picayune trounces West Point to claim State Championship

Audio replay of the game (Click Here)

Hattiesburg—The Picayune Maroon Tide continued to make believers out of doubters with a resounding 40-21 win over the West Point Green Wave to give Picayune the 2021 Class 5A State Championship at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Picayune scored first. Starting from its own 34 on the opening possession of the game, the Maroon Tide would get a 37 yard touchdown run from sophomore Chris Davis on the 7th play of the drive. Morgan Craft kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 8:38 showing on the clock.

West Point answered with a 4 play drive for 68 yards with Cameron Young scoring from 1 yard out and the point after by Alex Harper tied it a 7-7 with 6:53 left in the first quarter.

Picayune answered with a 13 play 65 yard drive using 6 minutes and 59 seconds off the clock. Junior Donte Dowdell scored on a 7 yard run. Craft’s point after made it 14-7 with 1:54 left in the quarter.

Young brought West Point back even with a 10 yard touchdown run that capped off a 8 play 56 yard possession for the Green Wave. Harper’s extra point made 14-14 with 9:18 left in the half.

After the two teams exchanged punts, Picayune was penned down at their 8 yard line after the West Point punt. Dowdell ran for 8 and 10 yards on the first two plays to get a first down. Davis then gained 1 yard to put the ball at the 27. On the next play, Davis took an inside trap handoff and raced 73 yards for a touchdown. West Point blocked the extra point and Picayune led 20-14 with 3:29 left in the second quarter.

The teams traded punts to close out the half.

West Point took in the second half kickoff and returned it to the Picayune 41. Five plays later, Young scored on a 5 yard run and Harper gave West Point their first and only lead at 21-20 with 10:21 left in the third quarter.

Picayune responded quickly after the Green Wave kickoff.

Starting at its own 34, Dowdell ran for 3 and 5 yards on the first two plays. On third down, junior fullback Darnell Smith rambled to a 59 yard touchdown, weaving his way through the West Point defense and breaking 3 tackles as well. Craft’s point after made it 27-21 with 8:47 left in the third quarter.

From there, adjustments by the Maroon Tide defense keep West Point in check the rest of the way. The Green Wave was forced to punt and Picayune took over at the Maroon Tide 20. The offense methodically marched down the field on 12 plays to cover the 80 yards with Dowdell scoring on a 2 yard run with 11:10 left in the game. Craft’s point after made it 34-21.

Picayune scored a defensive touchdown on West Point’s next possession when sophomore Jamonta Waller picked up a fumbled lateral and scooted 35 yards for the score to put Picayune up 40-21 with 8:29 left to play.

The Maroon Tide defense took over on downs on both of the next two possessions for West Point, once at the Picayune 22 and the last time at the Picayune 37.

West Point (11-1 on the field; two Covid forfeits not included) was playing in it sixth straight championship game.

Picayune (14-1) rushed for 393 yards on 53 attempts. Dowdell ran 25 times for 149 yards. Davis tallied 139 yards on 8 rushes while Smith had 10 runs for 88 yards.

Waller led the Maroon Tide defense with 11 tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss. Amarion Tyson, the team’s leading tackler, recorded 10 tackles and two tackles for loss.

“These guys just kept believing and never let up. I’m just so happy for everybody,” said Head Coach Cody Stogner.

"This senior class went winless in their 9th grade football season, but Stogner was quick to point out what they accomplished.

“We always say to leave something better than you found it, and they did. This (championship) is for them.”

Stogner, a 2002 Picayune graduate, was an assistant on the 2011 and 2013 State Championship teams, and now has a title as head coach in only his second season at the helm of the Maroon Tide program.



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