On a prompting from a handful of members of the Maroon Tide Nation and an email from one of, if not the best ever,
two sport athletes in PMHS history, Barry Harper and I will resume our weekly commentaries.
September 8, 2006: Picayune (2-0) at Gulfport (1-1)
Dear MAROON TIDE NATION,
The TIDE is 2 and 0 after the first two weeks of this young season.
The state pollsters have put us in the top 10. However, any true high school fan knows this team still has a tough division
schedule that lies ahead. We haven't won any division games yet mainly because we haven't played any. Please don't make
the mistake thinking that PEARL RIVER CENTRAL, POPLARVILLE, BAY HIGH, THE ROCKACHAWS OR ANY OTHER
DIVISION TEAM is going to lay down because we beat MOSS POINT and are currently ranked 9th in the state. As a matter
of fact, this PICAYUNE team will have to face fired-up opposition every Friday night. They will have to defend all of the trick
plays that the opposing coaches have up their sleeves and through the rest of this regular season, they will never be an underdog.
Underdogs are dangerous, just ask Goliath.
Some may read this first paragraph and say, "Man, that's negative". Some may, but not this year's TIDE team. I have
watched these kids, especially, this senior group play way back when they starred in the P.Y.A.A. and dreamed of starring
for the MAROON TIDE. Well, they have arrived, and they have starred in the two first games of 2006. I have watched
this bunch win a lot of football games through JR. HIGH, FRESHMAN BALL, and JAY-VEE. They won a lot, but what
I really liked was, they won all of the close games. Show me a club that wins the close ones, and I will show you a club
that is mentally tough. I'll give the coaches some credit for that mental toughness, but I really feel that player's mentalities
are developed at an early age in their home environment.
I know several of this year's parents. Good people, who have done a great job in raising their children. They have
developed these young boys into young men with good character. If I may steal a phrase from my ole buddy, Rob Sigler,
"CHARACTER COUNTS". Character does count in everything. This bunch is not arrogant or dirty. They will knock
your block off and then they will reach out and help you up. I hated playing against teams like that. They never get too
high and they never get too low. That's why I said they don't care what I or anyone else writes about them, good or bad.
Now, does this mean that we are going to have an automatic win Friday against Gulfport-ABSOLUTELY NOT!
They still have to prepare this week in practice, just like they did the last two weeks. This is one of the great things
about character, character always prepares . I feel this team understands this, just like they understood their weekly
chores and their nightly home work. You see guys, it wasn't that these chores were that important to your parents, but
it was important that you learned that if you wanted something bad enough, you have to work for it. Keep up the good
work in what may be an awesome season.
Have you ever woke up in the morning and wondered what day it is? I've been doing it a lot lately as football season
has gotten underway with me hoping every day was Friday. Put me in Bill Murray's shoes ( Ground Hog Day ) and I'll
be content with the Fridays like the first two we've had until at least December. Speaking of the movie, don't you just
love it when Murray lays out Ned the insurance guy on about the fourth day. If you haven't seen the movie, you're not
laughing now, so you have to rent it to understand. If you have seen it, it's time to stop the chuckling for a few serious
As I started my 13th year of radio at WRJW 1320 AM, I must confess this one is a tough one and special one at the
same time. First, it is Dale's last year. I remember taking him to games when he was younger and all he talked was playing
for the Maroon Tide. Hard to believe he's a senior. Seems like just yesterday he was watching the Nicks at Nite run wild,
John “The Undertaker; Stone Cold” Feaster crack ribs and helmets on regular occasions, witness Richard Imhoff's three
handed catch (that's what Clay said) against Laurel, and so many more memories. Now, he's making ‘em with his
teammates. And wouldn't you know it, The Undertaker is now one of his coaches. Whoa, nellie as Keith Jackson would
I've already shed a few tears (of respect) this season and we are only three weeks into the season. I know how hard he
and his teammates have worked in the off season to become bigger, faster, and stronger. I know the mental and physical
toughness they have to possess to play Coach Lee's style of football. I have nothing but respect for the entire bunch of
players and coaches that dedicated themselves to being ready for this season.
This group of seniors is special to me in so many ways. Not just the kids, but the parents as well. Curtis “Coon” McDougle
and I talk often about how fast it has gone by for Courtney and Dale. “Coat-Knee” as I refer to him, is one funny guy.
He is constantly cracking jokes and one liners. I also enjoy talking to Tommy Dillard's dad because he tells you exactly
what he's thinking. Seeing Steven Kellar come back after the accident last year is a story within itself. Steven is an inspiration
for us all on perserverance and commitment. Micah Hickman is not only a good quarterback, but I have yet to beat him in
ping pong in about a dozen tries. His dad, Allen Hickman, is one of my best friends. We are always thinking what we can
do next for the team.
Every time I see James Brady or Glen Agnelly or Tommy Dillard smile away from the game or push an opponent around
during the game, it makes me feel so good to know those guys appear to be having fun. Lord, knows they have worked
their tails off to get ready for this one last run at it. Watching Levi Slaydon as he keeps on making tackles at linebacker and
blocking people from tight end never gets old. The Griffith cousins (Chance and Justin) and Kelvis Bowens are like family.
Chance gets teased about his long arms (me and Barry call it “reach”), but Dodd (Coach Lee) called him the Long Arm
of the Law once last season and I think that sums it up for Chance as he can cover some ground in the secondary.
Justin is quiet most of the time, but always inquisitive. Kelvis, well he's just Kelvis. Always saying “Dawg this and Dawg that.”
By the way, ask him about my dog Deuce. They are best friends.
The tough part is knowing it will end at some venture for this group. That's going to be a real tough one no matter what the
circumstances. I dread it.
So far, the Tide has won two games, but their toughest challenges are ahead of them. This week's game with Gulfport at Milner
Stadium and then the division schedule are brutal. For now, let's do like they do, and take ‘em one at a time.
The Admirals are looking for a rebirth of their program under first year head coach Marcus Wood. Wood has installed a no
huddle, shotgun formation, 3 to 5 receiver sets on offense. They opened with a loss against Oak Grove, but rallied last week
from a 17-6 deficit to defeat St Stanislaus 20-17. Senior Cory Carlson (6-1, 182, Sr) is the trigger man and has shown
his ability to be a play maker thus far. He brought his team back to overtake St Stanislaus with two late field goals, that by the
way, he kicked. They have a good corp of receivers led by Jerome Wright (5-10, 179, Sr) who will line up in the backfield
and as a wide receiver. Defending the Admirals will be tough for the Tide as the secondary and linebackers will be tested
throughout and the Tide will rely on linebacker Levi Slaydon (6-3, 235, Sr) and safety Chance Griffith (5-10, 170, Sr) to lead
the charge for the guys in Maroon hats.
Defensively, Gulfport has six starters returning including 6-4, 312 pounder P.K. Keyes. Keyes, a three year starter, is being
heavily recruited by Florida , Miss State, Ole Miss, and USM. Their secondary is sound as well.
Picayune has shown good balance on offense. With a ground attack featuring junior tailbacks Albert Richard (5-9, 150) and
Drew Cole (5-11, 175), and senior fullback Dale Meitzler (5-10, 185), Picayune has moved the chains pretty consistently
thus far. Senior quarterback Micah Hickman (5-10, 188) has provided a steady hand running and throwing the ball and most
importantly, leadership in the huddle.
Picayune's offensive prowess relies heavily on the efforts of the offensive line. Tackles James Brady (6-3, 265, Sr) and Jonathan
Billups (6-1, 330, Soph), guards Huey Stockstill (5-9, 190, Jr) and Thor Newbold (5-9, 228, Jr), and center Tommy Dillard
(6-1, 255, Sr) have been impressive thus far, but face their toughest challenge this week in opening seams for the backs and
giving Hickman time to throw the football. Gulfport defensive tackle Herman Matson told the Sun Herald before the season
started to “Believe me, we are going to stop the run.” Well, something's got to give on Friday.
Both teams possess solid kickers with Irving Gonzalez (8-8 on PATs and 1-2 on FGs with a 37 yarder) and Carlson (I think
he kicks left footed). This one could come down to a field goal.
For the Tide to get a win, I will break it down using the Keeps.
draining the clock a quarter or two does wonders in producing fresh legs on our defense.
in this one.
P.S. Chris Stewart, I hope you enjoy the return of the commentaries as much as I enjoyed watching you play for Picayune years ago.
Roll Tide Roll…