By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Picayune is attempting to finish unbeaten in the regular season for the third time in the past 11 seasons tonight.
The nationally-ranked Maroon Tide hosts West Harrison at 7 p.m., and a win would move head coach Dodd Lee’s crew to 10-0 on the year entering the state playoffs. Picayune has won 16 straight games, which is the longest winning streak in the MHSAA at this point.
The Maroon Tide finished the regular season 10-0 in both 2001 and 2006.
Picayune, the consensus number one team in the state of Mississippi, has already assured itself of the Region 4-5A championship for the second straight season and will host a first round South State playoff game next week.
West Harrison is limping home at 0-9 on the season coming into tonight’s game.
The Hurricanes are led by senior quarterback/cornerback John Dunning, who has started behind center for three straight years.
West Harrison’s closest games of the season were a 6-0 loss to Stone County in week three and a 25-24 loss to East Central last week.
Picayune is coming off an 84-19 win over Long Beach, a team that beat West Harrison 35-24 two weeks ago.
“We need to continue to play well and not have a let down before we go into the playoffs,” veteran Maroon Tide head coach Dodd Lee said. “West Harrison hasn’t had much success this year, so they will be looking for a win.”
Picayune quarterback Ben Hickman has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception this season, and he has also ran for three scores.
Maroon Tide tailback Doug Cross could eclipse the magical 1,000 yard milestone this week, as he had run for just over 900 yards on the year. He has also scored 11 times on the ground, as has fellow backfield mates Preston Dedeaux and Desmond Taylor.
Defensively, safety Tony Washington has forced three fumbles and linebacker Sam Hickman has forced several fumbles as well.
Picayune moved up from 24th to 22nd this week in the USA today Super 25 Poll.
The Maroon Tide will either host Brookhaven or McComb to open the Class 5A South State playoffs next week.