Louisville rallies to beat Poplarville 25-20

Hattiesburg---Poplarville dominated the first quarter and part of the second quarter and led the Louisville Wildcats 14-0, but the Wildcats stormed back and overtook the Hornets late in the second half to win the Class 4A State Championship 25-20 at USM’s M.M. Roberts Stadium.

After a Hornet punt on their first possession, Poplarville got the ball right back on an interception by Canaan Ray inside the Wildcat 35. Tyson Holston used a good stiff arm to elude a Wildcat defender and scooted into the end zone around left end to put Poplarville up 7-0 after the extra point with 4:48 left in the first quarter.

Tyson Holston (8) on his way to his first touchdown.

Holston scored again in the second quarter from 5 yards out and the point after made it 14-0 with 9:39 left in the quarter.

Louisville scored on a 9 yard pass from their 6-3, 245 pound quarterback Deonte Yarbrough to Alvis Haynes. The point after was wide right and Poplarville lead 14-6 with 6:11 left before halftime.

On the first possession of the third quarter, Louisville scored on a 4 yard pass from Yarbrough to Kevon Jackson to make it 14-12 with 10:40 left in the quarter. The point after was no good.

Head Coach Jay Beech addresses his team during a timeout.

The Hornets came back and scored on their next possession when Holston got his third touchdown on a 44 yard run weaving through and eventually outrunning the Wildcat defenders. The point after put the Hornets up 20-12 with 8:10 left in the third quarter. (Holston's run in slide show below)

The Wildcats responded with a 14 run by Kevon Jackson with 6:31 left in the third. The Hornets stopped Louisville’s two point conversion attempt to keep the lead at 20-18.

Early in the fourth quarter, Poplarville stopped Louisville on third and short, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play against the Hornets gave the Wildcats a first down at the Poplarville 28. On the next play, Yarbrough threw a touchdown pass to Niselbyion Kirk. The extra point was good and Louisville led 25-20 with 6:07.

Poplarville had two more possessions, but turned the ball over on downs on the first one and a fumble on the second possession allowed Louisville to run out the clock.

The Hornets played most the game without starting quarterback Antonio Barnes who was injured after he made an interception while playing defensive back. Standout running back Chase Shears saw limited action due to cramps that developed during the game.

Poplarville’s senior class left a stamp on Hornet football history having played for three South State Championships and two State Championships the past three seasons.

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