Second half lifts Picayune over Lawrence Co.

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

PICAYUNE — The Picayune Maroon Tide rolled into the third roundof the state 4A playoffs by trouncing Lawrence County 53-29 inaction Friday night. Lawrence County jumped to a 21-6second-quarter lead, but the homestanding Tide roared back, scoring40 unanswered points.

With the win, Picayune improved to 11-1, and advances to faceMoss Point in a third-round game. Lawrence County completed one ofthe best seasons in school history at 10-2.

“It was a tough night, a tough second half,” said fourth-yearCougar coach Mike Davis. “We just didn’t have an answer for them.I’m still awfully proud of this team, though. It was a great seasonwith a great group of guys.”

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After Picayune put together a touchdown drive on the game’sopening possession, Lawrence County responded with 21 straightpoints, and led 21-6 with 5 minutes left in the first half. TheMaroon Tide regained the momentum with 2 late first halftouchdowns, and that momentum carried over into the secondhalf.

“We had a lead that got away from us late in the first half,”Davis said, “and I don’t think we ever recovered from that. We werea step slow in the second half, and that’s no good against a teamof Picayune’s caliber. They’re very, very tough to stop under anycircumstances.”

Picayune was carried by standout tailback Albert Ricard, whorushed 30 times for 194 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fullback GabeHinojosa also worked well behind the Tide’s outstanding offensiveline, rushing 11 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Standout cornerback Drew Cole relieved Ricard for 9 carries. Hegained 68 yards and scored a touchdown.

Lawrence County’s Kendrick Hardy matched Ricard. Hardy becamethe first LCHS player to rush for over 2000 yards in a season, ashe carried 15 times for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. IsaiahFerdinand had 7 rushes for 133 yards.

Picayune began the game with a 10-play, 78-yard drive. Ricardcarried on 8 of the 10 plays, and scored on a 2-yard run. The extrapoint attempt was no good.

Lawrence County responded immediately, faking to Hardy andgiving to Ferdinand on a counter play. Ferdinand went 86 yards,sending the visiting grandstand into a frenzy. Rishawn Hayneskicked the PAT, giving LCHS a 7-6 lead.

The Cougars had a hard time stopping Ricard and the Picayunerunning game, even while building a 21-6 lead. The Maroon Tide tookoff on another 10-play drive, moving with authority down the field.On the 10th play, however, Ricard fumbled. The fumble was picked upby LCHS cornerback Curtis Carr, who raced 65 yards for a touchdown.Lawrence County ran just 1 offensive play in the first 14 minutesof the game, but led 14-7.

After the Lawrence County defense forced the only Picayune puntof the night, the Cougars put together an excellent drive of theirown. In 10 plays, they went 71 yards, with Hardy, Ferdinand, andsophomore Josh Cameron sharing the load. Hardy scored on a 14-yardrun, and LCHS led 21-6. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the game didnot end at that point.

Picayune struck right back, going 64 yards in 2 plays, for atouchdown. Ricard scored on a 34-yard run. It was 21-12. After aLawrence County punt, the Tide took over at the Cougar 38, andquickly cashed in again. This time, quarterback Caleb Hickmanpassed 12 yards to tight end Jake Martinez. Suddenly, it was a21-19 game.

In the second half, Picayune was totally dominant. LCHS turnedthe ball over on downs, failing on a fake punt. The Maroon Tidequickly drove 50 yards for a touchdown, as Ricard scored from the1. It was 25-21.

Lawrence County then fumbled the ball away. Picayune rolled 52yards in 6 plays, with Drew Cole scoring on a 17-yard run. It was32-21.

After that, the Tide intercepted a Cougar screen pass andscored. Picayune then stopped the Cougars on downs and scored. TheTide amassed a 46-21 lead before Hardy broke loose on a spectacular62-yard touchdown run. Adam Watson then passed to Blake Stalans forLawrence County’s final 2 points of the season.

Ricard scored his fourth and final TD of the night on a 1-yardrun, with 1:20 left in the game.

It was the final high school game for Lawrence County’s 15seniors. In defeat, Cougar coach Mike Davis had high praise forthat group.

“I hate to see it end,” Davis said, “mainly because this hasbeen such a great group to deal with, led by a great group ofseniors. They’ve represented our school and our county very, verywell.”