Maroon Tide sinks Admirals 17-14
by Carey Meitzler
Gulfport--Legendary rock group Led Zepplin had a song and movie titled The Song Remains the Same. For Picayune
football, that phrase applies once again as the Maroon Tide exhibited a solid rushing attack, timely passing, and a gut-wrenching
defensive effort to take a heart-stopping 17-14 win over the nationally ranked Gulfport Admirals 17-14 at the Shrimp Bowl
Classic at Milner Stadium.
The start was a bit uneasy for the Maroon Tide faithful as Gulfport took the opening kickoff and drove 78 yards in 17 plays taking
7 minutes and 35 seconds off the clock and scoring on quarterback Chandler Malley's 3 yard touchdown run. Stephen
Brauchle converted the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 4:15 left in the quarter.
Picayune responded with a 10 play 50 yard drive that stalled out at the Admiral 15 yard line. Dalton O'Meara kicked a 32 yard
field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 11:19 left in the second quarter.
After the Maroon Tide defense forced a Gulfport punt on the next possession, Picayune started at their own 16. Picayune
moved the ball to the Admiral 35 yard line, but turned the ball over on downs when a fourth down pass was dropped at the
Admiral 5 yard line.
Picayune missed another opportunity to score when O'Meara just missed a 31 yard field goal midway in the third quarter.
After the missed field goal, Gulfport was unable to move the ball and had the punt the ball away again, due in large to a sack
by Picayune's Semaj Branch at the Admiral 35.
Brauchle punted the ball to the Tide 3 yard line. Picayune moved the ball to the Admiral 9 yard line, but on the 12th play of
the drive fumbled the ball back to the Admirals.
The Maroon Tide forced another punt after putting the Admirals in a hole with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage by
defensive end Doug Cross that resulted in a 5 yard loss.
Dereonte Magee took in the Brauchle punt at the 50 yard line and raced up the middle of the field to the Admiral 23.
Desmond Taylor got 14 yards on first down and Magee gained 6 to put the ball just outside the 3 yard line. Magee
scored on the next play and O'Meara converted the PAT for a 10-7 lead with 5:11 left in the game.
Gulfport did not waste any time responding as Malley hooked up with Zacari Lavender on a slant route and Lavender
raced 77 yards for the touchdown on the Admirals first play after the Tide kickoff. Brauchle's PAT made it 14-10
with 4:56 left.
The Maroon Tide took over at their 20 after Brauchle's second touchback of the game. Picayune moved the ball to
their own 46 and forced a fourth down and one yard to go. Nolan Fletcher picked up 3 yards to keep the Maroon Tide's
hopes alive. After an incomplete pass on first down, Ben Hickman found tight end Tanner Bryan open over the middle
of the field for a 33 yard gain and a first down at the Admiral 18. After Fletcher gained 3 yards to the 15, wingback
Jonathan Baker scooted around left end on a reverse, darted outside containment and was tackled at the 5 yard line.
Magee then ran the ball inside the 1 yard line and Picayune called their last time out. After the time out, Taylor plunged
in behind blocks from center Jacob Feeley and guards Cooper Esslinger and Joey Reynolds with :25 left. O'Meara
kicked the point after for a 14-10 lead.
Gulfport's hopes ended on a fourth down pass that was intercepted by Picayune's Dalvin Acker as time expired.
Magee had 98 yards on 18 rushes while Taylor finished with 11 totes for 95 yards. Hickman completed 4 of 12
passes for 81 yards.
Picayune (1-0) will play at Petal on Saturday night.