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Poplarville football season recap

Poplarville’s championship hopes ended Friday night after a close, heartbreaking loss on the road to the Purvis Tornadoes, but there are still a lot of positive aspects of the season for the Hornets players and fans to take pride in.

After the game on Friday, Head Coach Jay Beech said his players showed great character and he was proud of the way his team played. The Hornets battled back from a 14-point deficit in the second half and narrowly missed a chance to tie the game as time expired.

It was not the first time this group of Poplarville players had played from behind or fought through adversity. After losing their second game of the year in a blowout against PRC, the Hornets turned their season around with a winning streak that would set them up for statewide notoriety and postseason success.

Poplarville had never reached the third round of the postseason until this year. Their blowout victories over Richland and Quitman in the first two rounds of the playoffs clinched the Hornets a spot in the final four of the South Mississippi 4A teams and put an exclamation point on what may have been the best season in the team’s history.

In addition to their deep playoff run, the Hornets finished 8-2 in the regular season and won seven consecutive games en route to their first Region 8-4A District Championship since 1995. Poplarville was ranked near the top of all Mississippi 4A teams throughout the year and defeated top-ranked St. Stanislaus 47-46 on the road in overtime to hand the Rock-a-chaws their only loss of the season to date. The victory marked the second time of the season that the Hornets rushed the field after an exciting victory. Poplarville defeated Stone County 43-42 in overtime on Sept. 12 of this year.

In his first year as head coach, Beech took the Hornets into uncharted territory, and the spirit and excitement that he injected into the program was evident on the sidelines and in the Poplarville stands all season long.