Picayune didn’t come into D.I Patrick Stadium Friday as a huge underdog, but they did come away with a somewhat unexpected victory against Hattiesburg, 28-27.
While Hattiesburg (6-2) came into the game looking to tune up their record as they move along in district play, Picayune (4-3) wanted to make a statement.
Picayune went up early on the Tigers 7-0 in the first five minutes of the game, but the lead didn’t last long. The Tigers took the ball 22 yards for the score late in the first quarter, evening the score at seven points.
Picayune passed less than 10 times on the day, running the ball at every chance that they got. Even when time wasn’t of the essence, Picayune stuck to their game plan, which turned out to be essential to victory.
“They made plays that they had to make,” said Hattiesburg head coach Tony Vance. “(They’re a) veteran football team that has been there before and they showed that down the stretch.
“We’re still learning how to deal with success. (We have to) take games like this and using them as a stepping stone and an opportunity to get better.”
In the closing moments of the game, Picayune had a chance to tie the game, down 27-20. The Maroon Tide had the ball at their own 31, but several penalties pushed them back even further, all the way back to the 48.
After converting on a crucial fourth-and-short, Picayune was faced with another fourth down after three failed run attempts. With all of the Tiger defensive backs in the box, Picayune threw a rare pass to move the sticks.
A few similar series later, and Picayune had the ball with third and goal from the one-yard line, with a chance to tie the game. A quarterback draw punched it in for the Maroon Tide, and a sneaky two-point conversion iced the game for Picayune. The Tigers were deflated after the loss in the final 17 seconds of the game.
“We had an opportunity tonight to make plays, and we just didn’t,” Vance said. “That falls on everybody, including myself.”
Even after the loss, Vance still feels like his team is in good position.
“If you care anything about the game, you have to play with some emotion and I think we definitely did that tonight,” Vance said. “Guys hate to lose and you saw guys crying because it means something to them.”
Hattiesburg will travel to Pascagoula on Oct. 16.