• John Macon Gillespie

GoW: Thunder & Destruction

Both Picayune(6-0, 2-0) and Hattiesburg (5-2, 2-0) can really score the ball. In fact, both teams have scored in excess of 50 points three times this season. That means both defenses will have their hands full making sure this game doesn’t become a shootout. Even it becomes that, look for one the units to come up with a key play or turnover. The good news is that both units have shown they can be really good this season, though they have had hiccups, too.

The Tigers have allowed 56, 20, 8, 6, 48, 14 and 7 points in games this season. The Maroon Tide have surrendered 7, 21, 7, 13, 38 and 21. Hattiesburg have found themselves in a few shootouts already, hence the high totals given up against Petal and Oak Grove. However, they can clearly be really good, too. Then there’s Picayune, who have simply tapped their opponents out. The times they have allowed over 13, was mostly due to late scoring from their badly beaten opponents.

For Hattiesburg, the defense has been making plays all season. That includes 11 sacks and 11 interceptions through seven games. Those sacks have come from the likes of eight different defenders, with just two guys earning multiple quarterbacks sacks. Another seven different players have interceptions for the Tigers, and that number includes three guys with multiple picks. Averaging 1.6 interceptions per game is impressive, but only as equally impressive as the nearly one fumble recovery per game this season, as well. The Tigers have six of those.

Some standouts for the Tigers this season are: George Murry, Reggie Williams, William Robinson, Myles Johnson, Letrelle Johnson, Chandler Phillips, Dennis Payton and Raykell Ducksworth.

Picayune’s defense may not have the big names that Hattiesburg does, no has it gotten the attention. The Maroon Tide have been so good offensively, that their defense has quietly put together a great season. They have been one half, along with the offense, in beating teams into submission.

Just two times this Picayune has intercepted passes, one from Shaun Anderson and another from Curdeveon Jackson, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been good against the pass. Teams have been forced to throw against the Tide once falling behind. That’s why they have tallied 13 sacks, from six different players, this season. Junior Rashard Johnson leads the team with five of those sacks.

Players who have stood out for Picayune in 2016: Jortin Raine, David Baker, Shaun Anderson, Jermiah Stallings, Brian Taylor, Jacob Brumley, Louis Graham and Rashard Johnson, Blake Merrifield, Cole Bean, Michael Hunter and Curdeveon Jackson.

These two defenses will certainly have their hands full on Friday night, but both units have proven capable. Will these playmakers who have been named be able to hold two offense with pockets full of fireworks? Only Friday night knows yet, but we will all find out soon enough.

Southern Elite Sports
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