Region 4 Class 5A runs through Picayune
Sometimes regular season high school football games come in playoff sized packages. That’s what Picayune is gonna sign for on Friday when undefeated Hattiesburg rolls in to stake its claim for the region 4 Class 5A district title. The Maroon Tide won it last year and they’re dead set on locking up the repeat.
Standing in the way of domination are the 8-0 Hattiesburg Tigers. “Hattiesburg, they’re a great team. They’re just a great team, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
And 7-1 Picayune is right there with them. Both teams are still a perfect 4-0 against their peers, setting the stage for a high stakes week ten battle royale. Picayune Quarterback Tyler Penton said, “It’s a big game. It almost feels like one of those Saturday night games that you see the college people playing. It’s big, though. We just try to come out here and play for each other and hopefully get the win.”
Picayune Head Football Coach Dodd Lee said, “Really a reward for the kids to be able to play in a game like this, not many people get to play in a game where winner takes all for the division, and that’s just a tribute to the work that they do year around, every year, year in and year out.”
This game could also determine home field advantage in south state as if there wasn’t already enough riding on the outcome. Picayune Running back Shaun Anderson said, “I don’t know, it’s going to be wild. All the fans are going to be into it, the whole sidelines are going to be into it. It’s going to be lit.”
Lighting the way is senior running back Shaun Anderson who’s second on the Gulf Coast with more than 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns through eight games.
On the other side of this larger-than-life backfield match-up is Mississippi State commit Fabian Franklin. The guy that hands Anderson the ball is a little biased and understandably so. “He runs hard and I run hard, that’s it.”
“He’s got great vision. I’ve never seen a kid with quickness and vision like he does. He’ll find a hole and squeeze a hole that you wouldn’t think a mouse could fit into, but he’s special. He’s a special kid.”
Picayune is also led by a special coach. In his 22nd year at the helm, Dodd Lee has a state championship pedigree two times over and he says the cows are in the barn. “That means all of the work has been done. All we’ve got to do is find out what happens now.”
“That’s one of Dodd Lee’s sayings, you said he’s been a coach for 22 years. He’s got those sayings that you’ll hear every once in a while, but cows are in the barn. We’re all here. Practice is over, the preparation, game is here. We’re ready for it.”
After dropping the season opener to Poplarville, the tide has ripped off seven wins in a row. Picayune and the visiting Tigers will square off for all the marbles at 7 p.m. on Friday.