Hornets to start playoff run vs. McComb

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Poplarville Hornets (6-4, 3-2) travel to McComb High School (9-2, 4-1) for the first round of the 4A state playoffs Friday. 

It is uncertain whether junior running back Jesse Pernell will be ready to play after an ankle sprain kept him out of most of the Columbia game. Pernell has been an integral part of the Poplarville running game—he has 176 carries for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

If Pernell is a no-go, the Hornets will have to rely more heavily on sophomore standout Austin Bolton who has performed  valiantly this season with 151 carries for 1,091 yards and 12 scores. They will also have to get some production out of sophomore fullback Peytan Graham who had some trouble taking care of the football last week as he coughed up two fumbles. 

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Head Coach Jay Beech said he is confident in Graham.

Beech is impressed with what he’s studied on film from the McComb team.

“McComb looks like LSU’s jayvee team. They have talented players at a lot of positions: quarterback, defensive line, specifically, a 6-foot 5-inch, 250-pound defensive end, a good line backing core. They have a lot of speed and talent and if we don’t tackle well in space they’ll embarrass us,” Beech said.

Offensively, they run the Veer out of the gun and they have a really fast quarterback and they go play action a lot, all their receivers are tall and lanky and they can fly, they have a lot of speed,” Beech said. 

Beech said that tackling in space is a focal point for his team. 

He also mentioned how McComb has not played anybody who runs the same offense as Poplarville.

“They haven’t played anybody under center and everybody they’ve faced is in the gun, so it may be something they’re not used to defending. Also we don’t know how they’re gonna defend us. We want to control the clock, keep the offense off the field and try to score every time we have the football,”Beech said.