Hornets end springs drills

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, May 24, 2007

Head coach Lance Mancuso has guided Poplarville to the Class 4A state football playoffs in each of his two seasons at the helm of the Hornets.

And after wrapping up spring training recently, Mancuso hopes to have the Hornets right back in the postseason once again this Fall.

Poplarville finished up the drills with a jamboree at Forrest County AHS recently, competing against Stone High for one half of play and then playing Long Beach in what amounted to about a quarter of action.

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“I thought overall we had a pretty good spring, but we’ve still got some question marks in some places but I guess just about everybody does at this time of the year,” Mancuso said. “I was pleased with their effort and work habit, and I think there are a lot of positive things we can carry over into pre-season practice.”

The Hornets must quickly address the loss of key players in backfields on both sides of the ball. Ike Bowden and Brandon Peters are gone on offense, while Joel Bilbo, Brett Harriel and Bowden are gone from the secondary as well.

“Nobody really stepped up at running back like I wanted them to,”Mancuso added. “But we really focused alot on defense during the spring.”

Mancuso said that Chancellor Houston and Ira White will go into the offseason as the top candidates to replace Bowden and Peters in the backfield. He praised fullback Justin Raine and quarterback Matt Williams, both returning starters.

“Both Matt and Justin had great springs,” he added. “This is Matt’s senior year, and we are really looking for him to step up. He has shown he can lead and everything we need to do on offense he makes it go.”

Mancuso also said that Stanley Hart enjoyed a good spring moving from cornerback to safety for the Hornets.

Poplarville has much to look forward to for next season, as the Hornets will open the season with their own stadium on campus after years of playing at Dobie Holden Stadium on the campus of Pearl River Community College.

The Hornets will christen their new surroundings on Friday, Aug. 31, when they host the Mustangs of West Jones.

Also, Mancuso added that commemorative bricks are still be being sold to help with the cost of the new stadium and the names of those purchasing the bricks will appear on the bricks that lead to the stadium. Bricks are on sale for $100 apiece.