PICAYUNE – Brooklyn Kellar was crowned homecoming queen for Picayune Friday, but it was the Maroon Tide offense and defense that ruled the night in a blowout Region 4-6A win over West Harrison.
Running backs Darrell Smith and Niquis Ratcliff scored a pair of touchdowns apiece, quarterback Brady Robertson tossed a pair of TDs, and J.B. McWilliams led a stout defense as Picayune rolled over the Hurricanes 35-7.
But Tide head coach Cody Stogner said his team still hasn’t played their best game yet.
“We executed at times, but we’re not where we need to be yet,” said Stogner. “Happy we won, but I really believe we can get so much better. Our defense, we expect that week-in and week-out, but we’ve got to put it all together.”
McWilliams, who was all over the field defensively for Picayune, said the two-time state champs still have a lot to prove.
“We’ve still got a chip on our shoulder, even though we’re going for the three-peat,” said the defensive lineman, who also had a key catch and run. “We just need to go out there and do our job each week.”
Picayune (5-2, 2-0 in 4-6A) got off to a quick start.
On Smith’s first touch of the night, the junior went 55 yards for the touchdown. Morgan Craft added the point after to put Picayune up 7-0.
Ratcliff capped a 6-play, 76-yard drive with a 10-yard TD run and Craft’s PAT made it 14-0 with 2:04 to play in the opening quarter.
Robertson, who was 4-of-6 for 96 yards in the first half, hit Jamonta Waller for a 16-yard TD over the middle with under a minute to play in the second quarter. Craft’s extra point made it 21-0 at the half.
A failed onside kick to begin the second half allowed Picayune to start near midfield. Three plays later, Smith, who had 15 carries for 125 yards, caught a Robertson pass and went 49 yards for the touchdown. Craft’s PAT made it 28-0.
Ratcliff added his second TD of the night with a tackle-breaking run from 11 yards out to cap a 57-yard, eight play drive. Craft’s fifth extra point made it 35-0 in the third quarter and forced the running clock.
Late in the game, West Harrison running back Jeremy Jones caught a 61-yard pass from quarterback Brady Martin and raced to inside the Tide one. Two plays later, Trey Harris scored from a yard out with 2:46 to play in the game to prevent the shutout. Landon Cox booted the extra point to make it 35-7.
The Hurricanes (4-3, 0-2) will travel to Lucedale Friday to face 4-6A foe George County.
Robertson, who finished 5-of-7 for 145 yards and 2 TDs, kept the offense on track all night – especially stood out in the passing game.
“Last week was really when we planned to throw the ball more, but it rained really bad,” said Robertson. “It’s good for our team to open up the offense more and take some pressure off the run game.”
Picayune continues region action at Long Beach Friday and Stogner said there’s no time for let up.
“We are 0-0 when our heads hit the pillow tonight,” Stogner said.