By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Dodd Lee’s return to East Central High School was as successful as his tenure here.
Lee led his top-ranked and unbeaten Maroon Tide into Shirley Stadium Friday night, and Picayune came away with a 48-7 win over the homestanding Hornets.
The win was the 15th straight for the defending Class 5A state champions and clinched a playoff berth for Picayune, as the team moves to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in Region 4-6A play. The Hornets fall to 1-8 overall and 0-5 in league play.
Picayune jumped out to a 21-0 lead six minutes into the game and cruised to the win.
“We got off to a good start,” Lee said. “We didn’t play with as much intensity as I would have liked, but we have done that for about seven straight games and I guess it’s hard to be as intense every week as I would like to be.”
On the first play of the game, Picayune’s Ben Hickman hit Kardarrius Cross on a 68-yard scoring strike.
Daveon Greene added a 64-yard scoring scamper on a wingback reverse, and Doug Cross scored on a 29-yard touchdown run as the Maroon Tide led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
On Greene’s run, Hickman executed a perfect fake to freeze the Hornets defense.
East Central got on the scoreboard when Travis Kirkland hit Donovan White on a 10-yard touchdown toss early in the second stanza.
Picayune responded with three consecutive scoring drives, ending in a 28-yard scoring run from Desmond Taylor, a 67-yard touchdown sprint by Doug Cross and a 30-yard scoring pass from Hickman to Doug Cross.
On the 67-yard scoring run, Picayune’s Grey Stockstill executed a solid down field block to spring Cross free. A fumble recovery by Sam Hickman set up the score by Taylor.
Doug cross scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a 7-yard run mid-way through the third frame.
Four of the Maroon Tide’s six scoring drives in the first half were one play drives. The Maroon Tide ran 15 plays in the first half and scored 41 points.
“We can take some positives away from this,” Lee concluded. “We have to play a little better mentally and we just have to get ready for next week.”
Lee went 43-21 with five winning seasons and three playoff berths at East Central from 1990-95. He is 147-52 in 17 seasons at Picayune
The Hornets have had just four winning seasons since Lee left, one of which was a 6-5 mark last year.
Picayune hosts Long Beach in league play Friday.