By Joseph W. Gex, II, Item Sports Correspondent
The Picayune Item
The Poplarville Hornets were stung last Friday night by the St. Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws 48-41 in a Division 8-4A showdown. The Rocks (8-0, 3-0) remained undefeated on the season and now sit in the driver’s seat alone in the division race with two games left. The Hornets (6-2, 2-1) control their own destiny and are still on pace to host a state playoff game if they win out.
On Friday night, the Hornets attacked the Rocks’ defense with their tried and true rushing attack and it produced. Jiquan James rushed 18 times for 143 yards and two scores while Malik Lucas added 139 yards on 17 carries.
Chandler Ray scored two rushing touchdowns in the game and Rojae Raine added a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The two teams continued their offensive fireworks from a year ago when they set the record for most points scored in one game with 162. This year they combined for 89 points.
The Rocks scored on four touchdown passes from Tyler Allen who has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season. Brennen Bradley and Chase Rhodes each caught two. Allen and Johnny Longo both added a rushing touchdown while Evan Lundgren returned a kickoff 94 yards against the Hornets.
Daniel Smith led the Hornet defense with 14 tackles followed by Tyler Harlan with 10.
Poplarville head coach Chris Teal commented, “We had a great game plan and the kids executed it. They played extremely hard and we have a tremendous amount to play for coming up.”
This week the Hornets will travel to Bay High to take on the Tigers (4-4, 2-10 who defeated the Vancleave Bulldogs 22-20 on a blocked field goal attempt with 10 seconds left in the game.
Teal stated, “Bay High is a team that I have not beaten since I have been here. They are a big, physical team up front. And, with their win over Vancleave last week they have made the playoffs.”
He continued, “They run the Wing T offense very well. So, we have our work cut out for us to stop them. On defense we have to tackle well. They have some tough runners. They can lull you to sleep and then hit you over the top on a quick pass. We have to be ready and focused.”
The Tigers feature running backs Larnelle Lewis who galloped for almost 100 yards last week against Vancleave. Keishaun Pullom is also a threat out of the backfield and provides a nice change of pace to the style of Lewis.
Quarterback Bennett Favre threw three touchdown passes last week against Vancleave including two to speedy wideout Patrick Daniels.
On defense, the Tigers line up Chase Barbay and Skylar Bush to rush from the defensive front. Bush had a huge sack that forced Vancleave to attempt the field goal last week. Taylor Kidd and Nick Proulx man the linebacker positions for the Tigers and will be charged with stopping the vaunted Hornet rushing attack.
Game time at Joe D. McCullouch Stadium/Tank Williams Field is set for 7pm.