Maroon Tide soaks Panthers

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

PICAYUNE — For years, Picayune football teams have been knownfor grind-it-out, ball-control running attack. Opposing teams havebeen known to be lulled to sleep if they are not paying attentionto this methodical offense.

The Maroon Tide added a special dimension to their arsenalFriday night at Tide Stadium in the opening round of the South 4Astate playoffs. Their defense went toe-to-toe with defending Class4A state champion Ole Brook; hammering out a 13-10 win over thePanthers before an estimated crowd of 2,000.

Brookhaven, ranked No. 4 in the latest QHO Southwest MississippiPrep Super Seven, concludes its season at 6-4. Picayune improves to6-4 and will travel to Wayne County Friday.

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The Panthers got things started in a big way. From the Panther31, junior running back Charles Wilson scampered 61 yards to theTide 8. Picayune’s defense bolted down and held Ole Brook to a21-yard field goal by Will Thibodeaux in its initial possession atthe 9:36 mark.

Wilson led the Panther offense with 115 yards on 14 rushes.

Several exchanges of turnovers and possessions followed beforethe Tide got on the scoreboard with 2:45 left in the openingperiod. Picayune defensive back Brent Acker picked off a Brookhavenpass and went untouched 21 yards into the end zone. Erveng Gonzalestacked on the PAT kick for a 7-0 advantage.

Gonzales added a 36-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in thefirst half, and Picayune carried a 10-3 lead into the intermissionbreak.

“Offensively, we did not play well tonight,” said Panther headcoach Tucker Peavey. “Defensively, we played well enough to win thegame.”

Ole Brook got its lone visit to the end zone off a botched playby Picayune. On fourth-and-2 from the Tide 36, Gonzales mishandledthe snap from center on a punt. The football went over on downs atthe Picayune 17. Two plays later, sophomore quarterback BoboRancifer called his own numbers from 10 yards out. Thibodeaux madethe PAT kick and the game was tied 10-10.

Both defenses took over for several possessions.

Picayune used a 15-play, all on the ground, 79-yard drive to getthe game-winning 24-yard field goal from Gonzales with 2:20 left inthe game.

“You can call our offense what you want,” said Tide head coachDodds Lee following the game. “It’s effective and our kids do anexcellent job in running it. Our defense stepped it uptonight.”

Defensively, Virgil Sanders led the Panther charge with 13tackles (7 solo). T.J. Qualls was in on 8 stops. Varris Keys had 7tackles. R.J. Jenkins had an interception. Larry Winters picked upa Tide fumble. The Panther defense allowed no offensivetouchdowns.

“Brookhaven’s just like we are, very young,” added Lee. “Theyhave a good football team.”

Picayune limited Ole Brook to 132 yards of total offense,including just 17 through the air, and just 5 first downs, two inthe second half. The Tide got all 216 yards of offense on theground.