Picayune to honor Maroon Tide state champs with parade, pep rally

PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - The Picayune Maroon Tide football players better brace themselves for a wave of victory celebrations ahead. The city of Picayune will throw a huge party to celebrate the team's 5A high school football state championship title. Here is a sneak peak at plans to honor the pride of Picayune.

A banner in front of Picayune High School proudly declares the campus as home of the state football champions. Over at Paul's Pastry Shop, the owner and staff expressed their Picayune pride with maroon, gray and white icing.

"Just a gratitude for the boys for working so hard to bring this championship home to Picayune," said owner Sherri Paul Thigpen. "We're awfully proud of those boys and the coaches and what prestige they brought across the town. Everybody's excited about it."

You could see that excitement on Sandy Kane Smith's face. He is the team's Booster Club President. Smith has been letting his beard grow for two years now and vowed not to shave it off, until the team wins its next championship title.

"That was something me and the boys came up with and I fulfilled it. It's better than getting a tattoo," said Smith with a big laugh.

The Maroon Tide's come-from-behind surge to capture the state championship trophy Saturday night was the talk around city hall. The team beat Oxford in a fourth quarter rally.

"It was freezing cold and it felt like it was 90 degrees outside," said Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero. "Everybody's heart was beating and cheering. Just so proud of the Maroon Tide football team. It's electric in Picayune. Everywhere you go people want to talk about the game."

The city is in the process of forming a committee to plan a citywide celebration to honor the players, cheerleaders, band members and everyone involved with the team. Those plans may include a parade that would start at the high school stadium and end up on the steps of city hall.

"We just want to show them that we love them. We appreciate what they've done," said Pinero.

The school district also plans to host a pep rally and a banquet to recognize the players and hand out their championship rings.

"They kept fighting. They kept plugging away and that's what the coaches instilled in the players. I'm very, very proud. I can't be any prouder of a bunch of players and coaches," said Picayune Schools Superintendent Dean Shaw.

Next Monday, the football players will walk the halls of all four elementary schools in Picayune to share their victory with the little ones. The booster club will be selling championship T-shirts to raise money to buy those championship rings for the players. And Paul's Pastry will bake a special cake for the citywide celebration.

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