Being the best in the state is one thing, but how about the country? The Picayune Maroon Tide currently lead the entire nation in rushing yards, a feat that has played an integral role in getting them to Saturday’s 5A State Championship game.
In football, physicality is the name of the game, injuries, big hits, it just comes with the territory. Head Coach Dodd Lee said, “It takes a certain type of person, you have to be a disciplined person, you have to be able to take construction, you got to be able to work with others and a lot of people can’t do that.”
Perhaps the toughest group of guys in the sport is the offensive line, one of the only things standing between the ball and the line of defenders trying to take it. Left Tackle Timothy Mickle said, “Intense. You got to, it’s full through, you have to play every snap, you can’t take no plays off.”
Tight End Blake Mitchell said, “It’s rough. You get beat up a lot, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s an honor to play on the offensive line for Picayune.”
If you’re looking to understand an offensive line’s true ability to impact a game, look no further than the guys at Picayune High School. Running Back Cameron Thomas said, “They come up big, they’re the number one thing to this offense. I love my offensive line, I tell them that. I tell them almost every possession we have to score, we have to put the ball in the end zone.”
The o-line has helped navigate the Picayune rush offense to more than 6,000 yards in just 14 games. If you did the math, that amounts to 434 yards per contest. It doesn’t hurt to have the state’s only 3,000 yard rusher in Cameron Thomas, who is shining a light on the offensive line’s play. Center Collen Penton said, “You know that that work that you’re putting in down there is going to good use, when you have people like Cam, you get that block and he’s gone, it’s that simple.”
Right Tackle Deonta Reed said, “You ain’t have to make those big gaping holes, sometimes it can be just a little crack and that helps out tremendously, mentally and physically when he can just slip through those little cracks and just run.”
While the stars of the show are usually the ones who find the end zone, don’t worry about the guys who paved the path for those scores because they don’t feel left out at all. Left Guard Garrett Hunter said, “We kind of get everybody out the way to make sure that they can make the cuts and be where they need to be at.”
Right Guard Kaylup Jones said, “It feels like all of our touchdowns because having multiple people score is everybody’s touchdowns.”
The Maroon Tide and their deadly rushing attack will have their hands full on Saturday in the 5A State Championship Game when they face the back to back to back state champion West Point Green Wave.