By Joseph W. Gex, II, Item Sports Correspondent
The Picayune Item
The Poplarville Hornets have completed their non-division schedule and the first half of the season with a 4-1 record following their 58-14 stomping of Heidelberg last Friday night.
The win gives the Hornets some momentum heading into their open date this Friday night.
Poplarville head coach Chris Teal commented, "We played an all around good football game against Heidelberg. We were called for just two penalties in the game so we are getting better at execution."
Jiquan James led the charge for Poplarville with 119 yards rushing on 12 carries and two touchdowns. Malik Lucas had 125 yards on 15 carries and two scores. Rojae Raine finished with 87 yards rushing on five carries and a touchdown. Raine also added a 70-yard kickoff return for a score.
Blake Saucier and Will Holliday each scored on a five-yard run.
On defense, the Hornets were led by their defensive line of Austin Rancatore, Jalen Smith, Hippy Smith, Blake Martin and Cole Johnson.
Teal added, "The defensive line all played great throughout the game. They kept pressure on the quarterback and did not allow him to get too comfortable. They also played strong against the inside running game and forced Heidelberg to make plays."
Nigel Wood and Keith Dotson each recorded an interception, as well.
The Hornets have an open date this Friday as does all of Division 8-4A.
Teal stated, "We have improved each week. During our off-week, we need to continue to improve and practice like we will be lining up Friday night."
The Hornets open Division 8-4A play on October 4th at home against Moss Point. Teal continued, "We cannot go to Moss Point and play like we have. We have to be better. Moss Point is a good football team and we have to play our best to have an opportunity to beat them."
With Poplarville being a ground-oriented team, Teal has been impressed with the play of both the offensive and defensive fronts. Teal stated, "The play of both sides of the line has improved each week. Those two aspects of the game will take us where we want to go."
However, Moss Point is not the only competition Poplarville will face. Standing in line to take shots at the Hornets are St. Stanislaus, Bay High, Vancleave and Pass Christian.
This is the best start for the Hornets since 2011 when they started 4-0.
For now, the Hornets can just sit back, enjoy the open date and get healthy for this most important five-week run.
The Hornets resume action on Friday, October 4th against Moss Point.