November 18, 2008
Friday Night Fries
By Carey Meitzler
Former Picayune Item Sports Editor and current Laurel Leader Call Editor Rob Sigler started a tradition years ago when he used
to travel with us while covering the Maroon Tide. Win or lose, on the road, you always had to have some French fries on the way
home. It was Rob's way of putting closure on the week. Even though Rob wasn't with us the past few seasons, we have kept the
tradition going. As much as everyone hates to see it end, it's time to put some closure on another great season. We had our fries
in Waynesboro, so things are in order.
Rob "Robbo" Sigler
The Wayne County / Picayune game was so close to becoming a win for the Maroon Tide. How close was it? The difference between
a first down, a potential touchdown, and probably a winning 2 point conversion try was about the time it takes to snap your finger.
We were so close. So close.
Picayune nearly pulled what at the time would have been a big time upset if they could have toppled perennial state contender
Wayne County this past Friday. Picayune was prepared, executed extremely well, and walked off the field with the admiration
of not only their faithful followers, but a lot of folks in Wayne County and across the state. Several Wayne County fans came by
after the game to tell Barry Harper and me “what a great team you have”, “you guys took it to us”, “Man, I've glad we are done
with you all” and “just like 2006, we may have just won South State tonight”. Lots of praise, lots of respect.
As the last fan stated above about the game two years ago, it was much the same. So close. Wayne County went on the capture
the Class 4A Championship in 2006. This latest match up had it all: Big plays on offense, great stops on defense, new wrinkles,
and great coaching on both sides. It was another classic between these two teams.
In spite of playing 7-8 guys both ways most the game, Picayune hung right there with the War Eagles who did not play anyone
both ways. In fact, when most of our players were changing mind sets and positions from offense to defense and back, the War
Eagles respective units were sitting on a bench resting and getting input from their coaching staffs. A luxury we didn't have was
the kind of depth they always seem to have. Of course, when you dress 94 players, it's possible.
Coach Dodd Lee and his staff once gain put together a solid team this year and next year should be another good one. Lee has
put together a very solid staff on both offense and defense.
Offensively, Brian Edwards does what he always does: put together a solid offensive line. This year, he had to deal with more
injuries that I can remember and every week he put it together. The addition of Russell Mitchell was evident in the development
of Jacob Kennedy. Give them a full off season to fine tune the offense and they will once again be a force.
On defense, Seth Smith has made the Tide better overall, particularly against the pass. I think that seeing the pass more in practice
with the addition of the spread was also a contributor. He brings a lot of energy to the game.
Cudos to John Feaster, Cody Stogner, John Meyers, and Gen Breeland as well. All great coaches and great guys as well.
Mentioning, Feaster, he will always be the “Undertaker “ to me. I think he could still play today if he wanted to. I'll never forget
his senior year and particularly the game against St Stanislaus. He made about 15 solo tackles and had the opposing backs running
out of bounds when they knew he was near. As Barry stated way back then on the Scoreboard Show, “he was tougher than a
Waffle House steak.” Today, he's a fine mentor to many young men, my son included.
This season produced a great team effort with some outstanding individual efforts as well particularly a few seniors .
Jon Billups, Jacob Hickman, Gabe Hinojosa, Reginald Bailey, Kell Goff, Jonathan Smith, Cedric Brown, T'Darryl Grays,
Chris Nixon, and Nick Riso. There are others in this class that contributed as well all season long: Cody Leonard, Matt Dragon,
Tyler Kelly, Trevor Pigott, Brett Milner, Chad Aures, Bobby Baldwin, Kendall Bogan, and Joey Breeland.
Some really good juniors will return for what should be another really good team. On offense, Jacob Kennedy (1,460 passing
yards with 19 touchdowns), Jamal Hall (1,234 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns), Jonathan Moore (19 catches for 441 yards
& 4 TDs), Jarrod Jones (548 yards with 4 TDs). The line will be anchored by DeAmbry Jackson and Kresean Bowens.
Jones will return at linebacker, Wayne McMooain will be back on defense in the secondary, receiver on offense, and return specialist.
D.J. Batist will anchor the defensive front.
There will be a lot of new faces that'll step up and people will wonder “where did he come from?” . It happens every year and this is
in direct correlation to Coach Lee and his staff's ability to develop guys to fit the team needs.
Also, look for some new teams on the schedule with the creation of the 6A classification. Picayune will most likely be in 5A for the next
two years. 6A will be first 32 teams and 5A will include the next 32 teams. Don't be surprised if we see a few Jones County teams and
maybe a Wayne County in the Region schedule for the 2008 season. I really like the thought of playing tough competition each week.
If this happens, it will provide a few opportunities to spend a few Friday nights visiting with Rob Sigler. That'll be a good thing too.
I can almost here Sig' say it as only he can say it: “Hey bubba, how ‘bout some Friday Night Fries.?” Done Robbo. See you next year.