Unbeaten, top-ranked Poplarville hopes to keep momentum going on Friday
Poplarville Hornets Head Coach Jay Beech
The Poplarville Hornets plan on holding on to the momentum they've built halfway through the season as they travel to Forrest County to take on the Aggies this Friday night in Brooklyn.
The Hornets are coming off of a 54-36 win over the Greene County, a game which appeared to be their first real challenge of the season in the first half. For the first part of the game, the Hornets (6-0, 1-0) and Wildcats (6-1, 0-1) matched big plays, leading to a scoring competition that went on well into the third quarter. Then just before the start of the fourth quarter, the Hornets, as they have demonstrated week after week, really stepped up their game defensively and showed the Wildcats what all the hype is about, preventing them from scoring on their last four possessions.
“That was not what I was expecting, no, not at all. We just got in a little scoring contest with them, but we kept scoring and kept putting the pressure on them and they just couldn’t keep up,” Poplarville Coach Jay Beech said.
Forrest County (FCAHS), ranked 19th in class 4A in the state, will be a much different match up for the #1 ranked Hornets this Friday night, but Beech says the Aggies are incredibly similar to the Hornets in a lot of ways.
“Forrest County is the spitting image of who we are. They are the same offense, the same defense,” Beech said. “Scheme wise, they are the same as us, so we should be familiar with each other. They should know how to stop us, we should know how to stop them. Also offensively, we know how to attack them and they should know how to attack us, so it should be a good game.”
FCAHS hasn’t had the impressive season Poplarville has, but they are coming off of a big district win from last week. After a low-scoring effort (zero points) the week before, the Aggies came out on top against Lawrence County last week with a 44-31 win. Senior Nathan Whitley was a big part of the win as his strong performance led the Aggies as he ran for 135 yards and scored three touchdowns.
When these two schools met last year, the Hornets came out on top with a 34-7 victory. Poplarville was able to move the ball a lot more, 379 yards compared to 181 yards, a gap FCAHS will be looking to close this time around for them to have a chance to upset the Hornets.
Poplarville is averaging 448 yards rushing per game led by the trio of Austin Bolton (1,224 yds / 17 TDs), Roosevelt Raine (700 yds/ 6 TDs), and Tyson Holston (388 yds / 4 TDs). Ross Barnett (81 tackles) and Peyton Graham (69 tackles) are mainstays in the Hornet defense.
Another interesting note in this match up is the history behind the two head coaches, Beech and the Aggies' Jeff Stockstill. According to Beech, they go way back, and in fact, the two were actually neighbors growing up and played on the same baseball and football team in high school.
“He’s been one of my very good buddies,” Beech said. “And I wish him all the best at Forrest County, except of course, for this Friday night.”
Kickoff is at 7:00pm at Forrest County Agricultural High School, in Brooklyn, MS. Tune in for the broadcast of the game with Clay Sweet (play by play), Jeff Lossett (color analyst), and Jason Baker (sideline reporter) on wrjwradio.com and the WRJW smartphone app at 6:30pm for the Paw Paw's Campers & Cars Pregame Show.