Hornets to play at Purvis in 3rd Round
Poplarville continues to roll toward a return trip to the Class 4A State Championship. This week the Hornets head north up Highway 11 to play a road game against Region 7-4A opponent Purvis. The Tornadoes are standing in the way of Poplarville's chance to play in consecutive South State Championship games.
The Tornadoes come in with a 6-6 record and have won their first two playoff games defeating Mendenhall 42-41 and Florence 41-21. Purvis finished the regular season as the fourth seed. During the regular season game on October 20th in Poplarville, the Hornets won 69-34.
Purvis' offense relies on senior running back John Bolton (6-0, 198) who has rushed for 1,438 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. Bolton had his best game of the season against Florence with 176 yards and four TDs. In the previous meeting against the Hornets, Bolton had 96 yards and 80 of those came on one play, his longest run of the season according to MaxPreps.
The Tornadoes will throw the ball around as well with senior Ty Howell (5-9,172), who has thrown for 1,231 yards and 10 TDs. Howell is also a threat to run the ball having accumulated 874 yards and 11 TDs. Last week against Florence, Howell split time with junior Mason Kendrick (5-9, 150). Senior wide receiver C.J. Bolar (6-2, 185), a Louisville commit, leads the Tornadoes with 41 receptions for 811 yards and 10 TDs.
The undefeated Hornets (12-0) have been next to impossible to stop in their Wing-T offense while averaging 406 yards per game. Senior Austin Bolton (5-8, 170) has 1,906 yards with 27 TDs. While Bolton has been less than 100% the past few weeks playing through an injury, he has continued to put up solid numbers. Fullback Cory Knight (5-4, 165, Soph) has given Poplarville a huge boost the past two games with 44 carries for 340 yards and 4 TDs. For the season, Knight has 740 yards and 13 TDs. Roosevelt Raine (6-1, 208, Sr.) has been forced to play more snaps on defense due to injuries to teammates and has given the Hornet quality snaps on both sides of the ball. Raine has rushed for 806 yards and 6 TDs this season.
In the October 20th game, Purvis turned the ball over 3 times and if they do that again this week, the result of the game could be the same as before, a Hornet blowout win. The Hornet defense has scored touchdowns in consecutive weeks with senior defensive back D.J. Travis (6-1, 165) getting an interception return for TD against Northeast Lauderdale and Peytan Graham (5-11,230, Sr.) returning a fumble for a TD last week against St. Stanislaus.
Many times one might hear how hard it is to beat a team twice in the same season. Coach Beech touched on it briefly in his interview and expressed his dislike for the situation. However, this Hornet team seems destined to get back to the South State Championship and beyond.
The game will be on WRJW 1320 AM (Picayune), wrjwradio.com, and the WRJW app for smart phones. Coverage begins at 6:30pm with the Paw Paw's Campers & Cars Pregame Show. The WRJW team of Clay Sweet (play by play), Jeff Lossett (color analyst/statistician), and Jason Baker (sideline reporter) will be on the call of the game.
The winner of the Poplarville at Purvis game will play the winner of the East Central at South Pike game in next week's South State Championship.