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Poplarville loses to East Central 52-45

WRJW's Jason Baker with Head Coach Jay Beech

Poplarville--In a heavy weight matchup, East Central (13-0) landed one more blow than Poplarville to win the Class 4A South State Championship before an estimated crowd of over 5,000.

East Central jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead with a scoop and score by Avery White on Poplarville's first possession and then got a 64 yard TD pass from Rylee Brown to Tony Brown on their first offensive play with 5:40 left in the first quarter.

After missing a 26 yard field goal late in the first quarter, Poplarville got on the scoreboard with a 7 yard pass from Antonio Barnes to Mario Barnes to trim the lead to 14-7 with 4:13 left in the second quarter.

Mario Barnes waiting for touchdown pass from Antonio Barnes

East Central went up 21-7 when Tony Brown went 90 yards for a touchdown on the first play after the Poplarville kickoff.

Poplarville then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and East Central recovered at the 19 and Brown scored two plays later from 8 yards out to push the lead to 28-7 with 2:58 left in the second quarter.

Poplarville responded with a 59 yard pass from Barnes to Tyson Holston to the East Central 16. Austin Bolton scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night on the next play to pull Poplarville to within 28-14 with 2:32 left.

Brown returned the kickoff 85 yards for another touchdown to push the lead to 35-14.

Bolton, not to be out done, raced 79 yards for a TD with 1:20 left in the half to make it 35-21.

Click on images to enlarge in slide show format

Photos and videos by Carey Meitzler

Poplarville cut the lead to 42-28 on a Peytan Graham 3 yard run. Poplarville recovered an onside kick and Cory Knight would score a few plays later on a 15 yard run to cut the lead to 42-35 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.

Cory Knight scoring on a 15 yard run

Branson Davis, the excellent kicker for East Central, kicked an 18 yard field goal to stretch the lead back to a 10 point spread at 45-35 with 9:31 left in the game. Ethan Spiers matched the field goal for Poplarville with a 24 yarder with 3:45 left.

Poplarville converted another onside kick when Canaan Ray pounced on the ball. Bolton evened the score at 45-45 with a 50 yard TD run with 3:34 to go in the fourth quarter.

Austin Bolton makes a move in the third quarter

Tony Brown scored his sixth touchdown of the night to give East Central the lead at 52-45 with 1:53 to go in the game.

Poplarville got the ball near midfield in the waning seconds, but turned the ball back over to East Central on downs with 1:00 left and East Central ran out the clock.

Poplarville's terrific tailback Austin Bolton finished with 246 yards on 22 carries.

Poplarville finishes the season at 13-1.

Tony Brown ran 17 times for 201 yards and accounted for over 450 yards for East Central. East Central will play Noxubee County for the state championship next Saturday at Ole Miss.

East Central Head Coach Seth Smith


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