Hornets fly high with Wing-T
The Poplarville Hornets are off to their best start since 1972 with a perfect 5-0 record. The undefeated Hornets have a tremendous defense that has only allowed only one second half touchdown this season through five games. This stingy defense, coupled with a dynamic Wing-T offense, has given opponents fits so far this season and the dominance dates back to last year’s run to the Class 4A South State Championship.
The popularity of Wing-T Offense dates back to the 1940’s with legendary coach George Halas of the Chicago Bears. The Hornets run a different variation of the Wing-T, commonly referred to as the “Delaware” Wing-T by football purists, which was made popular by former Delaware Coach Harold “Tubby” Raymond.
The Hornet offense keeps the opposing defenses off balance and guessing as to which back will get the ball next. The Hornets run this offense like a well-oiled machine. The backs in the Poplarville offense benefit from the combination of a physical offensive line and great play calling.
Austin Bolton, the lead back in the offense, has amassed 947 yards on just 76 carries and has scored 13 touchdowns in five games. Bolton is joined in the backfield by fullback Roosevelt Raine, wingback Tyson Holston, and junior quarterback Antonio Barnes. All four runners are a threat to score from anywhere on the field for an offense that is averaging more than 9 yards a carry and 406 yards rushing per game. Through five games, the Hornets have racked up 25 rushing touchdowns. This isn’t an old school, ground and pound rushing attack; the Hornets strike consistently with big plays from their Wing-T set.
Head Coach Jay Beech had this to say about his backs and their offensive scheme. “Austin blocks for Tyson and Tyson blocks for Austin. Roosevelt does a great job of blocking and carrying out the fakes. Roosevelt is a downhill runner, and with his size, he always falls forward. Austin is speedy and elusive. All three of our guys (Austin Bolton, Roosevelt Raine, Tyson Holston) complement each other really well.”
The fact that the Hornets have beaten three Class 5A opponents through five games and have amassed over 2,000 yards rushing, speaks to Coach Beech’s point. Offensive Coordinator Jacob Owen described the Wing-T from his point of view.
“All three backs are completely reliant on each other on every single play. The importance of your job doesn’t diminish at all when you are not the ball carrier. Carrying out fakes with great effort can usually block two defenders. Attacking defenders, with precise footwork and pad level, will allow you to block guys that are twice your size and we expect our kids to do this every week. They can’t take plays off and be successful. It’s a hard offense, meant to be executed by hard kids. That’s what we have had here in the past and that’s what we have now, tough young men.”
Beech's and Owen’s comments and the numbers show the team’s belief in the system and the commitment of the players has created a special start to the 2017 season for the green and gold.
Poplarville has a week off before starting district play against Greene County in Poplarville on Friday, September 29th. You can listen to the game on Wrjwradio.com or on the WRJW smart app starting at 6:30pm.