PASCAGOULA — I spent this morning hanging around the Pascagoula football offices getting a feel for the energy headed into this Thursday's big game between the No. 2 Panthers and No. 1 Picayune.
For those that don't know, the Pascagoula-Picayune game will be televised as part of C-Spire's Bright Lights series of prep football games. The contest will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net with a kickoff set for 7:10 p.m. on Thursday.
* Fellow Sun Herald sports writer Al Jones spoke with Picayune head coach Dodd Lee today and confirmed that star running back Preston Dedeaux will not play for the Maroon Tide on Thursday. He suffered an injured shoulder in practice last week and missed the 63-14 win over Gautier.
* Pascagoula athletic director Greg Freeman said today that he expects a crowd of 8-9,000 to fill War Memorial Stadium on the school's campus. Ticket sales started last week and he expects that to pick up as the week goes on.
* C-Spire will bring in a portable jumbotron HD screen at the stadium and provide a fireworks display when the teams take the field and when either team scores touchdowns. Replays will be available on the jumbotron.
* Freeman watched last week's Petal-Oak Grove TV game and described it as a "top notch" production.
* C Spire is bringing six 18-wheelers full of supplies, including one stocked with generators to help power the project.
* Head coach Lewis Sims wasn't terribly satisfied with the play of his defense during last week's 43-18 victory at Long Beach. He wants better play out of his linebackers and his defensive backs have to be more consistent. He was particularly annoyed with the three second-half touchdown passes the Panthers gave up.
* Offensive coordinator Kevin Fant gave his take on Friday's performance against Long Beach:
"I thought we executed a little better," he said. "I thought the rain had a little bit to do with us throwing the ball more efficiently. We've got to be more consistent throwing the ball, just continue to get better. The main thing is just executing the play at hand and not trying to too much."
* Senior Stacey Warren received every meaningful snap last week against Long Beach, and he appears ready to take on the load headed into the Picayune contest. "I'm usually a one-quarterback type guy, but Stacey has a lot of work to do us," Fant said. "He's played tailback. He's played quarterback. He started at linebacker and quarterback last game. When he plays so many positions for us, you have to have another quarterback ready. That's what I told my other quarterbacks. You've got to be ready at anytime because Stacey is being asked to do a lot."
* In Tuesday's edition of the Sun Herald, I will have a feature on Gautier defensive lineman Justice Coleman. In the coming days, I will have plenty in print on the big 'Goula-Picayune game.