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Maroon Tide junior high team falls in championship game

The Picayune Maroon Tide eighth grade football team competed in the District IV championship Thursday night and lost to George County 24-14.

Running back Darrell Smith led Picayune’s offense by scoring both touchdowns and successfully scoring a two-point conversion for the Maroon Tide.

However, it ended up not being enough as George County was able to score with under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Head Coach Josh Robertson said even though the team would’ve liked to end the season with a win, there were still a lot of positives that came out of this year.

“It’s a special group of kids and you can’t judge a whole season by one game. They did a lot of great things. They’re a very special group. If they stick together and continue to develop, work hard and take care of their grades, I see great things for the future of Maroon Tide football,” Robertson said.

The two teams were neck and neck late in the game after the Maroon Tide scored to make the game 16-14 with time running out.

However, a big running play by George County saw the lead increase to 24-14, which Picayune couldn’t overcome before the final whistle.

Robertson said the next part of the athletes’ growth will be their ability to handle adversity.

Mental fortitude is an important asset on and off the field, so Robertson is hoping the improvement he saw in that area continues.

“(Thursday) night it got tough. Going forward I hope and pray they dig deeper and learn to overcome adversity because adversity is a definite.”

“I want to see them keep growing mentally because you’re going to be in a dogfight sometimes, it’s not going to be easy. Anything worth having in this life doesn’t come easy,” Robertson said.

A coach’s job is wide ranging, but a big aspect is preparing athletes for challenges of the future whether it be athletic or in life.

However, the relationship between coaches and athletes allows for improvement from both sides and Robertson said his players’ impact on him hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“I’m grateful to be there with them. One thing a lot of people don’t realize, a lot of coaches get credit for helping kids, but these kids have also made me a better person,” Robertson said.

The team will now move into the offseason with the majority of players going on to participate in other sports, but Robertson is hoping as time goes on more youngsters get involved in the program.

Getting more students to join the team would not only help develop more talent to move up to the varsity level, but would also help mold the kids into young men.

“I’m so grateful I’m in this position, that I’ve been trusted to coach our youth in my hometown. I’ve been here my whole life. It’s a great opportunity to impact kids and it’s very close to my heart to impact this community in a positive way. The more kids you can impact the better our small world will be here in Picayune,” Robertson said.