PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - Picayune may not have the so-called blue chip athletes that major college football programs are looking for, but you can bet, these young men wearing the Maroon and White will always give a hundred percent, consistently in the hunt for a 5A State Championship.
Head coach Dodd Lee guided Picayune to the Class 5A State title in 20-11 and 20-13. He was an assistant when Picayune captured the 1986 State Championship. To make a run in 2017, coach Lee says senior quarterback Tyler Penton will be a key.
Coach Lee said, "Tyler is a great kid. He's a smart kid, he made a 28 on his ACT. He's a competitor at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and runs a 4.75 40-yard dash and he throws the ball well. I've stayed on him and have pushed him probably a lot more than the other kids. One day he said, you're always on me. I said, I'm always on you because is we're to get to where we're going to go, it's going to be because of you."
Penton runs the Maroon Tide ground oriented game, but coach Lee also counts on Tyler to put the ball up in the air. After four games, Penton has 270 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Penton said, "We just look to lull them to sleep with the run and then comeback and hit them with a big pass play."
The run game is the meat and potatoes of the Picayune offensive attack, led by a solid offensive line and running back Shaun Anderson, who has 544 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. He's netting 6.7 yards a carry and credits his linemen.
"They just come in everyday and just work hard and listen to what the coaches say, "said Anderson.
Coach Lee said, "Anderson is a product of the program. He's a great kid with good speed. He's got strength and runs behind a great offensive line.
When it comes to the Picayune defense, 205 pound middle linebacker Brian Taylor stands out. The senior has 5 sacks in four games.
Taylor said, "I play defense and I work hard for my stops. If we get a stop we give our offense a good chance to score."
Kicking specialist Sami Naji gives Picayune another weapon. He's kicked 3 of 4 field goals...ready to take aim on Wayne County Friday night beginning at 7:00.
Coach Lee said, "Year-in and year-out Wayne County has one of the better football programs in Mississippi. We've had some great games with then and it's always competitive."