Poplarville beats McComb, advances in 4A playoffs
Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 7, 2015
By Josh Troy
MCCOMB — Lightning in the area delayed the start of the first round football playoff game by 30 minutes at McComb Friday night, but, once the game started, the penalties took center stage. Poplarville benefited from four McComb touchdowns being called back on penalties and overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit to win 21-20.
Austin Bolton, who finished with more than 150 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 17-yard run for the Hornets (7-4) with 6:40 to play in the third quarter to cut McComb’s lead to 20-14.
DaQuan Smith of McComb (8-3) had a 62-yard touchdown run called back on a holding with 0:05 remaining in the third quarter.
McComb’s Ka’Derrion Mason recovered a fumble by Poplarville’s Peytan Graham with 10:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. Smith had a 26-yard touchdown run called back on the next play for holding and McComb turned the ball over on downs.
Graham scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:01 remaining in the game to give Poplarville a 21-20 lead it did not relinquish.
”I’m speechless right now,” Hornets’ head coach Jay Beech said. “I don’t know what to say. Our kids, we forgot about the score after the half. We come out. We say we’re going to take it one play at a time. We weren’t worried that we were down by 13. We didn’t think about the score. I’m so proud. I can’t say enough about them.”
The Tigers had a chance to come back, but quarterback Venchenza McCray was intercepted by Poplarville’s Camden Ray with 2:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets managed to run out the clock.
”I feel like we played well enough to win the game tonight,” Tigers’ head coach Malcolm Jones said. “We just came up short. I think we may have had four touchdowns called back. It’s hard to play the team and the officials.”
Mistakes and penalties plagued both teams throughout the first half, but the Tigers had the 13-point edge at halftime.
Two McComb touchdowns called back in the first half were runs, and both penalties were illegal procedures. One was a 53-yard run by McCray in the first quarter and the other was a 23-yard run by Webber in the second quarter.
The Tigers lost the ball on downs after Webber’s touchdown was called back.
However, McComb redeemed itself after McCray’s touchdown was called back. He ran for a 25-yard touchdown seven plays later to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 7:06 remaining in the first quarter. McCray finished with 154 yards passing for one touchdown and one interception to go with 156 rushing yards for two touchdowns.
Poplarville’s one touchdown in the first half came on a 12-yard run by Bolton. Poplarville will be at St. Stanislaus for the second round at 7 p.m. Friday.