High School Sports

Picayune traveled to West Harrison for a fierce battle

Picayune head coach Dodd Lee yells at his players after giving up a touchdown to Harrison Central during the first quarter of their game at Harrison Central on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Picayune visited West Harrison on Friday.
Picayune head coach Dodd Lee yells at his players after giving up a touchdown to Harrison Central during the first quarter of their game at Harrison Central on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Picayune visited West Harrison on Friday. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

West Harrison tried to blunt the buzzsaw that is Picayune football, but the Maroon Tide kept cutting.

Picayune exploded for four first-quarter touchdowns to put away the Hurricanes, 59-21, Friday night at West Harrison Field to remain undefeated on the season.

Picayune (6-0, 2-0 Region 4-5A) pounced early and kept pounding at West Harrison (1-5, 0-2 Region 4-5A) in the 38-point win. After forcing a three-and-out on the Hurricanes’ first possession, the Maroon Tide blocked one of their first two punts to set up shop at the 13-yard line. Josh Littles rumbled into the end zone for an 8-yard score just two plays later to begin the offensive fireworks.

Littles then lined up on defense and hauled in an interception that led to a 10-yard Blake Merrifield rushing touchdown before continuing the offensive action himself. Littles scampered for a 38-yard touchdown moments after his pick to put the Maroon Tide up 21-0 with just 5:21 remaining in the first quarter.

Picayune ended the scoring streak with a 35-yard Juvonta Raymond touchdown run just before the quarter expired. The 28-point outburst set the tone for the game and provided Picayune a comfortable cushion with which to work.

The Maroon Tide rolled for 323 yards on the ground and 335 total in the win.

“I thought the first quarter was real good,” Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said. “But we’re not as good as you think we are, I don’t think. We’ve got to clean up some things.”

Despite the early onslaught, West Harrison refused to go down without a little pushback. After an 8-yard David Baker score put the Maroon Tide up 35-0, Ahmad Gage hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass to give the Hurricanes their first touchdown of the evening. West Harrison recovered an ensuing onside kick, resulting in a 2-yard touchdown run by Zavion Pride with 1:24 in the half to make it 35-14.

But that was as close as the Hurricanes would get.

Picayune took just 1:05 to score again at the start of the second half when fullback Brian Taylor rumbled for an 8-yard score to begin a running clock and give his team a 45-14 advantage. The Maroon Tide would score twice more to end the game, giving Picayune its sixth straight win to start the season.

Despite the lopsided victory, however, Lee said he still sees holes in his team that they need to fix before a home showdown with Hattiesburg next week. West Harrison hits the road to take on Pascagoula.

“We’ve got to clean up some things defensively,” he said. “We don’t always block the right people on offense. We don’t always hit the guys when we’ve got them open in the passing game. If we’ll do that, we can have a pretty good football team, but we’re not doing that with enough consistently yet — I don’t think — to be called good.”

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