September 29, 2006: Picayune (5-0, 2-0) at Pass Christian (1-4, 0-1)
Well, I was in that number this past Monday night down in Naw'lins. If you had the opportunity to watch any of the pre-game
festivities before the Dome was opened at 5:30pm, you may have seen me. I was the guy with my face pressed up against the
side of the Dome. I had roughly 50,000 people pressing and pushing me from behind. I learned this one thing for sure that when
they say they are going to open at a certain time, they mean it. It doesn't matter if people are getting trampled to death, especially
a middle age, gray haired guy from Pearl River County , Mississippi .
The game was a sell-out, however, they did not correctly anticipate the crowd that showed up outside the Dome before the game.
They eventually ran out of everything. Let me set the stage for you. Late September, with the afternoon sun shining brightly
without a cloud in the sky, it was hot. We were thirsty and waited in line for 45 minutes just to get a bottle of water, well, you
get the picture. Not long after we got our water, they ran out of water and ran out of cold drinks. The only good that came out
of this shortage was that the line at the port-o-lets diminished.
So here we were, standing on the ramp leading up to the Superdome. There were thousands of people there with us holding their
bottled water. We had no place to go. There were policemen, EMTs, state troopers, and military personnel all among us.
I was hungry, thirsty, and tired and I wanted to get in that Dome. However, until 5:30pm, we were stranded. Does this sound
familiar? I am in no way comparing my experience with what the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but it did cross my mind as I stood
Now, let's talk some high school football. What about the Tide!!! Once again, this bunch played a solid game. Offense was solid
and our special teams seem to get better each week. The defense gave up a couple of big plays, but when you get a big lead,
sometimes it's hard to keep your focus. I am not using it as an excuse, but it is a fair theory.
Where does the Tide go from here? Do they run the table? Do they finish the regular season undefeated? How far up do they
go in the polls? These are some good questions for the fans. I wish I had all the answers for you. A lot of coffee shop talk
suggested that if the Tide could win their first four games, they could have that undefeated regular season. Others said, “Wait
a minute, you never know what's going to happen in the Picayune-Pearl River Central game. Throw out the records, the polls,
and the whole favorite/underdog thing.” Well, this is a fair statement, however, this past Friday night, the 6th ranked, favored
Tide won big. Can they still go undefeated?
Well, we know from last year that Bay High and Long Beach are going to be formidable opponents. We beat Bay High in a
close game and lost to Long Beach down there in a great high school football game. Long Beach went on to win the division
championship. Both of these schools lost some good players, however, they have some good players returning this year. Each
has a good enough nucleus to vie for this year's championship. So, all we need to do now is knock off Bay and Long Beach
Now, here come the Hornets. The who? The Hornets of Poplarville. They have been beat up, beat down, and hovering in the
bottom of the division for the last several years. Last year they got a new coach and got into the playoffs winning the right two
games. They have a new attitude up there in northern Pearl River County . You may ask what have the Hornets been up to
lately. Well, they knocked off Long Beach , 4-0 at the time, last week. Yes, it was a major upset. But, what was most impressive
was the way Poplarville won the game. Long Beach took the lead at 36-33 with a little over a minute left in the game. The old
Hornets may have given up, but not this bunch. They came back and scored with 11 seconds left to win 41-36.
We have four regular season games left. I mentioned the last three first. This Friday night, the Tide will return to the coast to
play Pass Christian. The “Pass” as they are called, is a team that has scored a lot of points this year, however, they have given
up even more points. Remember, the 6th ranked team in the state is coming to their place and they would like nothing better
than to pull off a major upset. We must be ready to play because you can be assured the Pirates will be ready.
I've talked about our senior leadership this year a lot. This leadership has been outstanding and this team needs it now more
than ever. Let me quote Saint's head coach Sean Payton when he was asked about his team being undefeated with their 3-0 start.
Payton said he was concerned about their motivation for next week's game at Carolina . Payton said, “It's harder sometimes
to motivate a team after victories than after a loss. Most players show up ready to practice hard after they lose a game, and
after a win, players tend to want to take it easy at practice.” I agree with that comment.
The Maroon Tide seniors should not let the underclassmen take it easy because they're undefeated at this point. Keep up that
focus, concentration, and intensity you have shown during the first five games.
Could it be a dream season? The Maroon Tide and the Saints are undefeated. My “Fightin' Okra” only have one loss and look
to be competitive. PRCC let CoLin sneak up on them last week, but the Wildcats can still claim a fourth consecutive state juco
championship. Man, that's four rings. I need one for the thumb. I'll just wait until late November and jump on someone's
bandwagon. Gotta go. Roll Tide.
Blessings come when you least expect them. The good Lord knows I needed some last week.
After listening to the PRCC loss to CoLin, I admit I was a little down. I knew Coach Hatten was coming to speak with me on
Friday at half time and I thought it might be a tough interview after the loss. Boy, I was wrong. Tim was upbeat, honest, and
lifted my spirits about the fortunes he sees coming from the loss his top ranked team suffered. Tim was so good at halftime
that Barry told me on Saturday it was the best interview that I had ever done at halftime. Could be. Regardless, Tim was
blessing number one.
After getting about 2-3 hours sleep on Friday night, I loaded up five 5 Maroon Tide players and we headed toward Cleveland,
MS and Delta State University . I was tired, real tired and the thought of the five hour drive that was in front of me was daunting.
As I was getting on I-59 at exit 6, I ponder the thought that I could be laying at home on the couch watching television with my
eyes closed; I really do that, just asked Brooke or Michelle. But the more I drove, the more I laughed. I mean hysterically laughing.
Again, I'll spare the details except for one line. After watching the PRC game film and listening to the audio from the broadcast,
some of them grabbed a little sleep. Awakening from his short somber just outside of Grenada on Highway 8 headed toward
Cleveland, Chance Griffith jumped up from his seat, looked at the cotton fields on both sides of the road and screamed,
“I'm home!!!! Finally, I'm at home!!!!”. Now, you have to know Chance to really appreciate this one. They say that “laughter
is the best medicine.” Well, my prescription was a triple dosage on this trip. The laughter was blessing number two.
The weather in Cleveland was wonderful when we arrived in mid afternoon. It was Pig Pickin' Day ( a big, I mean big, BBQ
contest) and boy howdy, it was awesome. The BBQ was so good. I mean really good. The BBQ was blessing number three.
About an hour before kickoff, the weather went haywire. They delayed the start of the game from 6:00pm til after 8 o'clock.
We left at halftime (9:15pm) and started listening to Robbie on the radio as we headed home on the five hour return trip. We
heard that they had another delay in the second half and eventually finished the game at 12:30am. We were smart enough to
leave early and got home around 3:00am. Knowing when to leave was blessing number four and getting home safely was
blessing number five.
On to the Pass Christian game. Picayune must be careful with Pass Christian. They will try to turn this into an Arena Football
game: let's see who can outscore who type encounter. On offense, they have a lot of talented players starting with trio of
QB/RB Chad Moore, RB Shane Bowser, RB Jonathan Willis. They do it on running plays, passing plays, and kickoffs.
They have scored 28, 35, 45,14, and 27 points thus far. The Tide defense must be ready. They will. They come ready to play.
Take away two missed tackles on the same play and a blown assignment and the stats are much different last week. But that
was last week; come Friday, the Maroon Platoon will be ready.
Defensively, Pass Christian has surrendered a lot of points: 34, 16, 44, 45, and 61. They better be ready for the Tide offense.
Picayune has been very hard to defend for a couple of reasons.
front are blocking. Ok. I'll buy that, but I'll add that I believe he has confidence in his QB (Micah Hickman) and receivers
(wides and backs) that have influenced his play selection that includes a good percentage of passes that keeps the opposing
defense from loading the box (line of scrimmage) every down. But, to win at any level, you have to be able to run the ball.
Cole, Greys) and the same number at fullback (Meitzler, Bowens, Hinojosa). Fresh legs take a toll on your opponents when
the guys in reason number 4 (below) are coming at you.
Tommy Dillard, guard Thor Newbold, tackle Jonathan Billups, and TEs Justin Flowers & Levi Slaydon.
One last thing. I want to tell you a little tidbit about Barry's trip to the Dome he forgot to share. He wore a Deuce McAllister jersey.
Maybe that's why there were so many people around him. They saw that #26 and thought it was “him”. No, not really. You see,
the only thing they have in common is they both have car dealerships. Ok, maybe two. Barry is also from Mississippi.
Harper, a Wedge Buster? I still don't believe it. Blessing number...............never mind.
Roll Tide Roll.