Picayune Stings Hornets 42-7
by Carey Meitzler
It was like Ground Hog Day once again for the Picayune Maroon Tide as they made a statement with a 42-7 thrashing of Poplarville
to claim the Region 8-4A championship at Picayune. This one was over at half time due to a dominating performance by the Maroon
Tide defense as they stopped the Hornets time and time again.
Picayune opened the game with a 53 yard run around left end by junior tailback Albert Richard to put the Tide at the Hornet 15 yard
line. Richard, who entered the game with 22 touchdowns on the season, scored three plays later on a darting 5 yard run with 10:23
left in the first quarter. Irving Gonzalez booted the point after for a 7-0 lead.
All photos by John Young
Albert Richard (24) got the Maroon Tide off to a good start with this 53 yard run.
Starting at their 30 yard line after the Tide kickoff, Poplarville's junior QB Matt Williams hooked up with wide receiver Stanley
Hart putting the ball at the Picayune 7 yard line. But the Maroon Tide held the Hornets on fourth down and goal when senior
weak safety Courtney McDougle stopped Ike Bowden at the 1 yard line.
The Maroon Tide methodically marched down the field for their second score. On second down from the Tide 5 yard line,
Richard ran for 21 yards to the Tide 26 yard line. With Picayune facing a third and four at their own 44 yard line, senior
QB Micah Hickman threw to senior WR Justin Griffith for a 7 yard gain and a first down at the Hornet 49 yard line.
Senior FB Dale Meitzler then took a hand off from Hickman and busted loose on a 37 yard run to the Poplarville 12 yard line.
All photos by John Young
Dale Meitzler (40) finds an opening for the Maroon Tide. Justin Griffith (7) catches a 7 yard touchdown pass.
After two runs by junior TB Drew Cole moved the ball to the 7 yard line, Hickman lofted a perfect pass to
Griffith, allowing him just enough room to plant his right foot inside the back line of the end zone for the touchdown.
Gonzalez kicked the extra point for a 14-0 advantage with 2:50 left on the clock. Hickman, who was not expected to
play due to an injury in last week's game, did not return to the game after directing the Tide offense to the first two
Picayune got the ball back at the Hornet 42 yard line as T'Darryl Greys pounced on a Hornet fumble. Richard ran for
3 yards and Meitzler 2 yards to setup a 3rd down and 5 yards to go at the Hornet 36 yard line. From there, Richard took
a pitch from sophomore QB Jacob Riser and weaved his way through the Hornet defense as he went right, then left, then
right again breaking tackles, making defenders miss, and finally out-running everyone to the end zone for what may have been
the best run ever witnessed at Picayune's Stadium. The PAT by Gonzalez made it 21-0 with 7:49 left in the second quarter.
On the Hornet's next possession, Picayune held them on downs again as senior free safety Chance Griffith tackled the Hornet's
Brandon Peters for a three yard loss at the Picayune 38 yard line. Richard would get his third touchdown of the half as he
scored on the fifth play of the drive from 2 yards out. On the drive, Richard had runs of 1, 41, and 26 yards prior to the
touchdown. Gonzalez was true again on the extra point for a 28-0 lead with 3:00 left on the clock.
The Hornets returned the ensuing kick off to the Tide 32 yard line and had a first down at the 17 yard line when Picayune was
flagged for a late hit out of bounds. But the Hornets were turned away once again when Justin Griffith swatted away a pass
near the right corner of the end zone as time expired in the second quarter.
After a scoreless third quarter, Picayune's senior LB Levi Slaydon intercepted a pass at the Hornet 30 yard line and returned it to
the Poplarville 22. Three plays later, Richard scored his fourth touchdown with a one yard run. Gonzalez kicked the point
after for a 35-0 lead with 7:54 left in the game.
Drew Cole closed out the scoring for Picayune with a 23 yard sprint to the end zone as he turned the left corner and found a seam
near the hash mark and raced past the Hornet secondary for the touchdown.
Drew Cole (2) follows the block of Reginald Bailey (21) for good yardage.
Poplarville avoided the shutout with a 66 yard run by Brandon Peters with 1:00 left in the game.
Picayune amassed 388 yards rushing behind another solid performance by their Ground Hog offensive line whose members
include sophomore OT Jonathan Billups, senior OT James Brady, junior OG Thor Newbold, junior OG Huey Stockstill,
senior C Tommy Dillard, junior TE Justin Flowers, and senior TE Levi Slaydon.
Richard had 260 yards on 25 carries while Cole rushed for 55 yards on 6 rushes. Meitzler ran three times for 42 yards.
Hickman was 2 for 2 for 14 yards with both completions going to Justin Griffith.
The Maroon Tide (9-0, 6-0) will have an open date before hosting a playoff game on November 3rd.
Poplarville (6-3, 4-1) will play at St Stanislaus next week in a game that will finalize the seeding for Region 8-4A.