By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
For the third time in the past 11 years, Picayune finished the season unbeaten at 10-0 Friday night.
The Maroon Tide beat West Harrison 44-14.
It was the 17th straight game Picayune has won, which is the longest winning streak in Mississippi High School Athletic Association history, and probably the longest winning streak in Picayune’s 90-year football history. Picayune fielded its first team in 1922.
The Tide, which sits atop all three major poles in Mississippi, and is ranked in the top 25 nationally by USA Today as it heads into the playoffs, also saw on Friday night a stellar performance by running back Preston Dedeaux. There’s no doubt that he is back, and healthy, after a layoff for a bad shoulder.
The junior ran for 139 yards on 13 carries and scored four touchdowns to pace the Tide in its last season game and the last regular season win to a perfect season. And he’s back, just in time for the playoffs.
Picayune will have homefield advantage in its first playoff game at Picayune Memorial Stadium next Friday. Picayune was waiting Friday night for the dust to clear in the McComb-Pearl clash to find out who they will meet next Friday in Picayune.
News reports late Friday night said McComb beat Pearl in double overtime, so that means Picayune hosts Brookhaven next Friday night.
Lee said he was trying to give the ball to Dedeaux for about 15 carries Friday to stretch him out, and Dedeaux got the ball 13 times in grinding out his yardage.
“He ran hard,” said Lee, “and that ought to build his confidence after his layoff.”
Said Lee in post-game comments to the press, “We are a little beat up, but I don’t think it’s serious, but we are banged up a little. I think, however, we will be ready for next Friday.”
“I am glad we are where we are at right now, and hope we will be able to play a good game next week,” said Lee.
The Tide led 15-0 at the end of the first period and took a 28-0 lead into the half-time break, thanks to Dedeaux’s slashing runs.
On his first possession of the ball in the game, Dedeaux ran back a Hurricane punt 28 yards to the Hurricane 39 yard line, and five plays later Doug Cross dashed 16 yards to paydirt and the first score with 7:34 left in first-period action.
Next with only two minutes left in the first period, Dedeaux plunged five yards for his first of four TDS, capping a 52-yard, 7-play drive. Dedeaux ran for two extra points on the conversion.
Dedeaux scored again with five minutes left in the second quarter on a three-yard plunge. Quarterback Ben Hickman tried to run it over for two but failed.
Next with only 1:30 left till the first-half break, Dedeaux got his third TD on a 33-yard dash up the middle. Jake Polderman’s extra point kick was good and Picayune took a 28-0 lead into the half-time break.
Four minutes into the third period, Dedeaux got his fourth TD on a 33-yard dash and scored two extra points to make it 36-0.
With 1:10 left in the third period, Hurricane quarterback Aaron Latimer managed to sneak three yards for a TD after the Tide fumbled on their own 24. Jacques Pucheu’s kick was good, making it 36-7, Picayune.
In the fourth period the Tide and the Hurricanes got one each.
Hickman hit Coren Nixon for a 15-yard pass play and TD three minutes into third quarter action. Desmond Taylor ran for the two- point conversion, making it 44-7.
The Hurricanes got their last TD with three minutes left in the game on a 36-yard run by Dexter White. Pucheu’s kick was good, and the final score was Picayune 44, West Harrison 14.