Poplarville’s playmakers

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Poplarville high school football team put together a solid season finishing 7-5 overall and 3-2 in their district, falling to St. Stanislaus in the second round of the playoffs.

St. Stanislaus will be playing for the 4A state championship this weekend. 

It is no surprise that the Hornets had a number of standout players who were acknowledged as District 7-4A All District Selections. 

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Chad Hart, who plays defensive tackle, was tabbed as the Defensive MVP. Hart had 43 total tackles and 3.5 sacks on the year. 

The All MVP Team for Poplarville on defense includes: defensive lineman Julian Dotson (52 tackles and 3 sacks), defensive end Jamerrick Waller (39 tackles and 4.5 sacks), linebacker Tyler Fricke (110 tackles and 5 sacks) and defensive back Camden Ray (44 tackles and an interception).

Poplarville was represented by three players on the offensive All MVP Team: running back Jesse Pernell (1,269 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns), running back Austin Bolton (1,319 yards and 15 touchdowns) and offensive lineman Austin Arceneaux.

Many Hornets were also selected to the First Team All District Team including: linebacker Turan Smith, cornerback Tristan Nichols, safety Aritaeus Johnson and running back Sye Blossman.

Head Coach Jay Beech is extremely proud of his players and the program.

“They put in a tremendous amount of work. We pride ourselves in how hard our offseason program is and how tough it is. If you can make it through our offseason program, we know we have a really tough individual we can put out there and trust and we know they’re going to fight all four quarters,” Beech said. “Everybody here sacrificed three days a week during the summer, some weeks five days a week. They might have sacrificed going on vacation and things like that—they put football first in their extracurricular activities and that’s what it takes to be a good player.”

The players, most of them underclassmen, talked about making the team with humility and a focus on working hard in preparation for the coming year.

“It’s an honor to make the All MVP Team. Being selected to this team is a privilege and so is being able to play here for Poplarville. Being able to play with my teammates and under my coaches just gets you fired up,” Pernell said.

The players have bought into Beech’s system and have flourished under it

“The workouts are very tough, in some hot conditions. It gets us ready for the season and lets us know who we can depend on, who we can trust. It provides us with a strong team bond and it gets us going and once we get going it’s hard to stop us,” Nichols said.

The players said although the honors recognize the individual player, the reach of the honor goes further than the individual as it reflects on the school as a whole and the community.

“It just lets people know that down here, in the little town of Poplarville, that we actually have something going,” Smith said.

The players are motivated to come out and do even better next year especially given that they played St. Stanislaus so closely in the playoffs.

“We’ve come so close and to let it go like that, it’s not gonna happen next year. Coach will have us prepared and if we do what he says, he’s going to lead us to the Promised Land,” Hart said.