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Poplarville begins seacrh

Poplarville, like many other prep football teams in South Mississippi, is slated to start spring practice soon.

First things first, though.

The Hornets are currently searching for a head coach, and that process has moved into the second stage as of this week.

Poplarville athletics director John Miller said that 24 coaches applied for the job, and the application period ended Monday.

The search committee then met Monday night, and Miller said that interviews are expected to begin on Thursday and he hopes to have a new coach in place by Monday.

That’s the day, by the way, that the Hornets were scheduled to open spring drills.

“I was definitely pleased with the number of applicants, especially considering the time of the year that the job came open,” Miller said. The Hornets are looking to replace Lance Mancuso, who stepped down a little over two weeks ago.

“We had coaches from all over apply, from here in South Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama and as far away as Arizona,” Miller continued. “We hope to name someone as soon as possible, with spring practice coming up. We will just have to play it by ear and see how soon we can get someone in place as to when spring will actually start.”

Among those mentioned as possible candidates for the Hornets head coaching job are Harrison Central head coach Ronnie Cuevas, Laurel offensive coordinator Todd Breland, Picayune assistant coach Walt Esslinger, Pearl River Central assistant coach Chris Rankin and current Poplarville assistant Troy Davis as well as Stone High assistant Lanny Beech and Southeast Lauderdale head coach Ty Trahan.

It is not known if any or all of those coaches applied for the post. Miller declined to talk specifically about who had officially sought out the job.

Cuevas is in his fourth year at the helm of the Red Rebels, and was the longtime head coach at Gulfport High and also was the head coach at Starkville High for two years.

Esslinger has been the head coach at both Hancock High and East Central and is in his first year with the Maroon Tide.

Beech’s dad Lance was a former head coach at Poplarville, and Trahan is a former standout at both PRC and Southern Mississippi.

Breland helped guide Laurel to the Class 4A State championship this past season.

• Meanwhile, Picayune started spring drills on Monday under the direction of veteran head coach Dodd lee.

The Maroon Tide will play Forrest County AHS and Long Beach in a jamboree on on May 9th in Brooklyn.

Pearl River Central, under the guidance of head coach Jeremy Weir, will begin spring drills on Friday and will play Hancock and St. Patrick at Bay High in a jamboree on May 15th.

Hancock will be in its first spring under new head coach David King.