25 Teams in 25 Days

Picayune football loaded to make another 5A title run

The 2017 Picayune Maroon Tide cheerleaders and football team.
The 2017 Picayune Maroon Tide cheerleaders and football team. ttisbell@sunherald.com

Picayune could have one of its best teams under coach Dodd Lee in 2017.

The Maroon Tide returns 17 starters from last year’s 12-2 squad that reached the 5A South State championship game, which Laurel won 45-27 at Picayune.

The Picayune program has three 5A state championships in its trophy case: 1986, 2011 and 2013. Lee was an assistant coach on the 1986 team under Calvin Triplett, but was head coach for the last two Maroon Tide crowns.

“We’re a little beat up right now,” Lee said. “If we get healthy, we’ll be as good a team as we’ve had around here. We have a chance. It’ll be the middle of the season before I know what kind of team we’ll have.”

With 10 starters returning on defense, Picayune should be tough on that side of the ball.

Three starters on the defensive front are back: senior bookends Jacob Brumley and Rashard Johnson and junior tackle Juvonta Raymond.

Three linebackers also return: seniors Brian Taylor, David Baker and Michael Ferrier.

The secondary is loaded with the return of cornerbacks Shaun Anderson, Ronald Polk and safeties Michael Ferrier and Jeremiah Stallings. Anderson, Polk and Ferrier are seniors; Stallings is a junior.

“We played well at times defensively last year,” Lee said. “With experience, we’ll be better on defense.”

Offensively, Picayune returns seven starters from its trademark running attack.

Three starters return on the offensive line: senior tackle Benny Holifield, guards Darius Magee and Jacob Brumley. Brumley is a senior and Magee is a junior.

Shaun Anderson, who gained 1,096 yards rushing and eight touchdowns last season, is likely the Maroon Tide’s workhorse at running back, replacing Josh Littles, now at Jackson State. Junior Jortin Raine and senior David Baker will also get carries in a potent Picayune rushing attack.

Dylan Ramsay and Michael Hunter return at tight end. Polk is back at wide receiver, as is wingback V.J. Holt. All four are seniors.

Senior Tyler Penton will move to quarterback after having played tight end last season.

“Tyler gives us a physical presence at quarterback,” Lee said. “We can do a lot of things with him at quarterback. At 6-foot-3, he’s got nice size and is very physical.”

Juvonta Raymond is expected to start at fullback.

The Maroon Tide has a tough schedule. For the first time in a decade, Picayune faces Poplarville. The Maroon Tide travels to Poplarville on Aug. 18.

“Poplarville has a good team that went to the state championship game,” Lee said. “I hope we’ll be excited to play them as they’re excited to play us. That will be a good test to see how good we are.”

Picayune also resumes its rivalry against Wayne County, who replaced Pascagoula in Region 4-5A. The War Eagles and Maroon Tide, who play on Sept. 22 in Waynesboro, have often battled for a berth in the state finals over the years.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

Picayune schedule

Aug. 18: at Poplarville

Aug. 25: D’Iberville

Sept. 1: Pascagoula

Sept. 8: at Gulfport

Sept. 22: at Wayne County

Sept. 29: West Harrison

Oct. 6: at Stone

Oct. 13: at Long Beach

Oct. 20: Hattiesburg

Oct. 27: at Gautier

Nov. 3: Pearl River Central

Picayune roster

2 Jortin Raine

3 Bryce Smith

4 Amarion Simmons

5 Devonta Smith

6 Ronald Polk

7 Freddy Gray

8 Coby Jones

9 Tyler Penton

10 Elijah Burton

11 David Baker

12 Peyton Esslinger

13 Jakail Myers

14 Jaylen Myers

15 Leonard Taylor

16 Sami Naji

17 VJ Holt

18 Anicet Vicknair

20 Shaun Anderson

21 Curdevone Jackson

22 Dylan Schabault

23 Dominque Mackel

25 Kyler Lauga

26 Jeremiah Stallings

27 Carson Craft

28 Kaleb Hart

29 JC May

30 Detrich Spikes

32 Juvonta Raymond

33 Brian Taylor

34 Kade Turnage

35 Michael Ferrier

37 Matthew Brumley

38 Jaurice Travis

39 Will Davis

41 Matthew Bingham

42 Trey Wells

45 Dylan Ramsay

50 Mark Kendrick

51 Darius Magee

52 Lane Bressett

53 Benny Holifield

54 Elijah Jenkins

55 Jeremiah Borley

56 Jacob Brumley

57 Blake Mitchell

58 Dylan Galloway

61 Dylan Mitchell

62 Kyle Stockstill

64 Tanner Gregory

65 Keith Underdown

68 Kendrick Allen

72 Deonta Reed

73 Emmitt Goss

74 Jay Mickle

75 Garrett Franklin

76 Damaria Thompson

81 Rashard Johnson

83 DJ Ruff

84 Michael Hunter

85 Brandon Travis