West Point vs Picayune 09.JPG

Photo by Jared Thomas

No. 3: Picayune Maroon Tide

Head Coach: Cody Stogner

2021 Record: 14-1 (Class 5A State Champion)

Starters Returning: Offense: 7 Defense: 9

Players to Watch: RB Dante Dowdell; FB Darnell Smith; DL Zavion Coleman; OL Peyton Wells; OL Gage Thibodeaux; RB Chris Davis; DE Jamonta Waller; DE/TE J.B. McWilliams; LB Amarion Tyson; DB/RB Naquis Ratcliff.

Coach Speak: “We attacked the offseason knowing that we will have a target on our back.  We have put a lot of pressure on them to continue to get better every day because last year is behind us.  Our guys have responded well to the challenges we put in front of them every day. Offensively I like what we have coming back.  We have lots of leadership coming from our senior offensive linemen. Brady Robertson will be our quarterback, he got some quality snaps last season, so he is ready to take over the offense.  Dante and Chris are pretty special to have, and we expect big things from them, but they will be the first to tell that it starts with the big guys up front and our fullback Darnell Smith. Defensively we return a lot of experience at all positions.  Our defense has some really good leaders and are a very competitive group. Our region is going to be tough again.  Everyone is a year older, and some will have some new faces.  Our district prepares you for the playoffs because I feel like every District game is a playoff game.   Every year is different so we try to focus on being the best Picayune team we can be this year,” Stogner said. 

Outlook: Picayune has been here before as the top team to beat in 5A and this year will be no different. The Maroon Tide are coming off a 14-1 season in 2021 and claimed the MHSAA Class 5A state championship for the first time since 2013 and are heavy favorites to repeat this year. Brady Robertson will be the new starting quarterback to lead the Picayune offense. The Maroon Tide have seven starters back on offense that will once again be led by the potent ground game that averaged 344.7 yards per game and that includes if not the state’s top backfield in running backs Dante Dowdell and Chris Davis along with fullback Darnell Smith. Dowdell, a four-star prospect and an Oregon commit, will lead the run-heavy offense after rushing for 2,555 yards with 28 touchdowns. Davis will also help lead the ground game after rushing for 953 yards with 17 touchdowns last season along Smith, who had 680 yards rushing with nine touchdowns. Picayune has nine starters back on defense that will be anchored by a veteran front seven. Defensive tackle Zavion Coleman (90 tackles in 2021) is back along with defensive ends Jamonta Waller (115 tackles last season) and J.B. McWilliams (105 tackles in 2021) are back to lead up front. Linebacker Amarion Tyson, who had team-high 210 tackles last year, returns to help lead the front seven. Davis along with Naquis Ratcliff will lead the secondary at defensive back. 

Season Opener: Aug. 26 at Poplarville.