Tide Rises to Beat McComb 33-24
by Carey Meitzler
Picayune--Trailing 16-6 at the half, and on the verge the elimination, the Picayune Maroon Tide mimicked a boxer getting up from
a standing eight count and knocking out their opponent as they defeated the McComb Tigers 33-24 before an estimated
crowd of 4,000 that included a large and raucous Maroon Tide Nation at Tide Stadium.
Picayune's opening drive ended with a missed 50 yard field goal attempt. McComb took over at their 20 and converted a first down.
With McComb facing third down and 3 at the 40, senior linebacker Levi Slaydon stopped Tigers' Demorius Stewart for no gain
forcing a fourth down. With McComb in punt formation on fourth down, Picayune jumped offside giving the Tigers a fresh set of
of downs at their 45. On the next play, Stewart busted loose for a 55 touchdown run and a 6-0 lead with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
The extra point attempt was no good.
The Tide responded as junior Albert Richard raced 61 yards on first down from the Tide 29 to the McComb 10. After a fumbled
snap on first down, senior fullback Dale Meitzler slashed through the Tiger defense for a 10 yard touchdown on second down.
Picayune faked the point after, but the two point pass from Justin Griffith to Kelvis Bowens was ruled out of bounds and the game
was tied 6-6 with 4:26 left on the clock.
All photos by Jerry Bounds
McComb was facing second down and 7 to go from their 23, when Justin Powell got free and appeared to be headed for a
touchdown, but Picayune's junior cornerback Drew Cole ran Powell down and tackled him at the Tide 12 yard line saving a sure
touchdown. The Tide defense stiffened and McComb settled for a 27 yard field goal with 1:27 left in the first quarter giving them
a 9-6 advantage.
Picayune's next drive ended with a fumble at the Tide 47 yard line, but Picayune took over on downs at their 26 yard line when
senior cornerback Justin Griffith tipped away Tiger quarterback Alonzo Harris' pass intended for Powell.
The Tide converted a first down, but then had to punt the ball away from their own 45 yard line. Irving Gonzalez' punt rolled dead
at the McComb 8 yard line. The Tigers drove the 92 yards in 7 plays with the touchdown coming on a 14 pass from Harris to
Powell. Boyd's point after put McComb up 16-6 with 1:25 to play in the second quarter.
After the ensuing kickoff, Picayune tried a deep pass that was intercepted by McComb's Rodderick Cotton at the Tiger 26 yard
line. Picayune got the ball back three plays later as junior defensive end Jake Martinez knocked the ball loose from a Harris and
Meitzler jumped on the ball at the McComb 44 yard line.
Senior quarterback Micah Hickman's passes on the first three plays were incomplete, but he connected with senior wide receiver
Justin Griffith at the Tiger 32 with :02 left. Gonzalez' attempt from 47 yards barely missed to the right as time expired.
As the second half got underway, Picayune's level of play rose up as they forced McComb to punt the ball away and the Tide
started at their own 12 yard line.
The inspired Tide marched 88 yards on 10 plays behind the running of tandem junior tailbacks Albert Richard and Drew Cole,
with Richard finally scoring from 7 yards out as he scooted into the right corner of the end zone with what was thought to just
under 5 minutes on the clock as the clock malfunctioned. After a long discussion, the clock was set to 3:12, and Gonzalez
kicked the extra point to cut the lead to McComb lead to16-13.
On their next possession, McComb was facing a third down and 3 yards to go from their 30 yard line. Picayune senior defensive
tackle Steven Kellar knifed through the Tiger line and dropped Harris for a 4 yard loss. On fourth down, McComb's punter
bobbled the snap and Cole nailed him in his tracks and Picayune took over at the Tiger 15 yard line.
Picayune took the lead when Cole punched it in from 1 yard line out on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the Tide on top
20-16 after Gonzalez kicked the point after with 11:58 left in the game.
Picayune held McComb to another three and out and forced a punt giving the Tide the ball at their own 47 yard line. The Tide
drove the 53 yards in 10 plays with Cole scoring again from 1 yard out. Gonzalez' point after made it 27-16 with 5:24 left.
After the kickoff, McComb drove 66 yards in 12 plays scoring on a 3 yard pass from Alonzo Harris to Justin Powell with 2:32
left. McComb converted a 2 point conversion on a pass from Harris to Kiam Magee to cut the Picayune lead to 27-24.
McComb, with only one time out left, tried a onside kick that only went 3 yards and Picayune got the ball at the Tiger 43 yard line.
The Tigers held the Maroon Tide on fourth down and 1 to go at the McComb 33 yard line with 1:00 left in the game.
McComb moved the ball to the Tide 42 yard line with :19 left. Picayune inserted Albert Richard on defense and he intercepted
Harris' pass deep in Tide territory and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown as time expired to make the final 33-24.
Picayune's Albert Richard rushed for 158 yards on 30 attempts. Cole rushed 7 times for 61 yards and Meitzler finished
with 35 yards on 6 rushes. Hickman completed 3 of 11 attempts for 45 yards.
Stewart paced the Tigers with 114 yards on 19 carries. Harris completed 9 of 15 passes for 88 yards.
McComb finished with 278 yards rushing to Picayune's 263. Picayune had 17 first downs and McComb had 13 for
the game. Picayune was 5 of 10 on 3rd down conversions and McComb was 3 of 11. Each team fumbled twice, losing
Picayune (11-0) will travel to take on Wayne County next Friday in the third round of the South State playoffs.
McComb finishes the season with a 8-3 record.