PICAYUNE – For the first time in 29 games, a Mississippi team handed two-time state champion Picayune a loss Friday night as Ocean Springs dominated the Maroon Tide for much of the game on the way to a 31-21 victory at Lee-Triplett Stadium.
Ocean Springs (4-1) has won four straight games after losing their season opener at Madison Central by a single point.
“We talked all week that we got the state’s attention and now what are you going to do with it,” said Greyhounds head coach Jake Bramlett. “They did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
For the second consecutive week, Picayune (3-2) faced a huge deficit but this time there was no huge comeback as Ocean Springs dominated the game for nearly the entire contest.
Picayune, however, got off to a sensational start as Darrell Smith took a handoff and went 68 yards on the first play from scrimmage to the endzone. Freshman Edgar Cruse, filling in for injured placekicker Jamal Simmons, booted the extra point to put Picayune on top 7-0.
But Ocean Springs reeled off 24 unanswered points, capitalizing on a couple of Picayune turnovers.
After turning the ball over with a fumble on their initial drive, Ocean Springs held Picayune on fourth down and went 59 yards in 5 plays with senior quarterback William Berglind scoring on a 25-yard run up the middle. Peyton Williams tied it with 7:45 left in the opening quarter with the extra point.
The Greyhounds recovered a botched Picayune snap at the Maroon Tide 26. Two plays later, Bryshen Smith caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Berglind with 6:45 left in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead.
Ocean Springs then recovered a muffed punt at the Picayune 36. The Hounds took advantage of another turnover with Williams booting a 34-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter to push their lead to 17-7 at halftime.
Berglind and the Greyhounds moved quickly down the field to start the second half, going 73 yards in 9 plays with Will Smith scoring from 8 yards out to increase their lead to 24-7.
Picayune’s offense finally showed signs of life, with Niquis Ratcliffe scoring on a 9-yard run to culminate an 8-play 78-yard drive with 4:14 remaining in the third quarter and pull the Tide within 10 points.
But early in the fourth quarter, Berglind hit Talan Carter – a defensive tackle playing tight end – from 18 yards out on fourth down to cap a 10-play, 68-yard drive and make it 31-14.
Picayune’s Smith scored on a 20-yard run with 5:14 to pull the Tide within 31-21. Picayune went 74 yards in just four plays to keep their hopes alive.
But that was as close as they would get, suffering their second home loss of the season.
Picayune just had too many bug-a-boos with penalties, turnovers and a defense that couldn’t get off the field in key moments of the game.
“We can get better from this,” said Tide head coach Cody Stogner. “A good sign of a championship team is learning from games like this and we’ll see how we do. We have some things we have to clean up. You just can’t make silly mistakes against a quality team like Ocean Springs and expect to win. But the real season starts in two weeks.”
Both teams have an open date Friday, before beginning region play Oct. 6 with Ocean Springs hosting D’Iberville and Picayune traveling to Pascagoula.