November 1, 2011

Maroon Tide 'passes' Greyhounds 24-20

by Carey Meitzler

Ocean Springs--When they needed to throw the football, Picayune called on quarterback Devin Hedgepeth and

he delivered by completing 4 of 5 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Picayune 9th grade

team to a 24-20 win over Ocean Springs to capture the Conference Championship at Hugh Pepper Field in

Ocean Springs.

The first four minutes produced a scoring frenzy that saw 20 points put up on the scoreboard.  

After Picayune was forced to punt on the first possession of the game, Ocean Springs scored on their third with

a 47 yard run from Ben Garner who lined up at wide receiver, came in motion from right to left and took the handle

from quarterback Edward Day who was lined up in shotgun formation.   The two point conversion failed and Ocean

Springs led 6-0 with 4:39 left in the quarter.

Gerrell Keaton returned the ensuing kickoff from the Picayune 20 to the Greyhound 24 yard line.  On the first snap,

Xavier Haralson raced up the middle of the field breaking numerous tackles on his way to the end zone. After a

failed two point attempt, the score was tied 6-6 with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

Ocean Springs' Marcus Buckley returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.  Day ran in the two point

conversion making it 14-6 with 4:08 to play, still in the first quarter.

Picayune's next possession ended on a fourth down running play at the Greyhounds 30 yard line.

Ocean Springs moved the ball to the Maroon Tide 38 facing fourth down and two yards to go.  Day was stopped

on fourth down by Cornelius Brown for no gain and Picayune took over with 4:49 left in the half.

Picayune picked up a first down on three runs by Kardarius Cross moving the ball to the 48.  After Haralson got

3 yards on first down, Hedgepeth then connected with Alex Aaron for 11 yards moving the ball to Ocean Springs 38. 

Three plays later, facing fourth down and three at the Greyhound 31, Cross busted loose on a 25 yard run behind a

good block from Maleik Turner setting up first and goal at the 6 with :40 left.  Cross ran for 2 yards and then 1 yard

to put the ball at the 3 yard line.  Picayune called their last timeout with :06 left.  After the timeout, Haralson bolted

up the middle behind center Ethan Frierson to score the touchdown with :02 left.  The two point try failed and

Picayune trailed 14-12 at the half.

Ocean Springs was unable to move the ball on their first possession of the third quarter and punted the ball to

Picayune.  Picayune moved the ball to the Ocean Springs 7 yard line, but the Greyhounds stopped the Maroon

Tide and took over on downs at the 6 yard line with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

Picayune would eventually get the ball back after forcing Ocean Springs to punt the ball from their own 25 and a

short Greyhound punt gave the ball to the Maroon Tide at the Ocean Springs 48 with 7:07 left in the game.  Facing

third down and 4 yards to go at the Ocean Springs 46, Hedgepeth, working off a play-action fake to a running back,

connected with Alex Aaron streaking down the left sideline for a touchdown put Picayune up 18-14 with 5:39 left.

The two point attempt failed.

Ocean Springs was forced to punt on the next possession due to good pressure from Maroon Tide defensive

linemen.  On first down, Drew Lambert put a hit on Day just as he released a pass and Frierson did the same

on second down.   After the Greyhounds were penalized 5 yards for illegal procedure, a third down pass fell

incomplete and another short punt gave Picayune excellent field position at the Ocean Springs 32 yard line.

On third down from the Greyhound 29, Keaton took a handoff from Hedgepeth on a wingback reverse and

scooted down to the 10 yard line.  Two plays later, Hedgepeth rolled to his right and found Aaron open in the

end zone for a 9 yard touchdown.  The two point pass attempt failed and Picayune led 24-14 with 2:25 left.

Ocean Springs started at their 38 and marched down the field scoring on a 20 yard pass from Day to Buckley

with :59 left.  The two point try was stopped as Picayune's Michael Champlin tackled running back Kyle Thibodeaux

at the one yard line.

Picayune recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock with Hedgepeth taking a knee on two plays.

Haralson finished with 56 yards on 14 rushes while Cross had 52 yards on 18 carries. 

Picayune finished the season with a 6-1 record.