A ‘special place’ looking for a special year

Published 9:49 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

With the most seniors returning to a team in the county, Poplarville has high hopes to win the district.

With the most seniors returning to a team in the county, Poplarville has high hopes to win the district.

Poplarville High School Head Football Coach Jay Beech has uncharted territory to look forward to this season.

Although the Hornets start off the season against tough opponents, Beech says he has something he’s not had in a while, a team with experience.

The Hornets have 16 seniors returning in 15 starting roles.

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“Experience plays a big role in going far in the playoffs, but we aren’t looking that far ahead yet. Right now, we need to take it one game at a time to get where we deserve,” Beech said.

This is the first time Beech has coached a team with this much experience, which he said boosts their confidence and familiarity among one another.

“I’m glad that we broke in our freshman quarterback and that he got all that knowledge of the starting role last year. This year should be even better,” Beech said.

Along with their young quarterback, Beech said he is thrilled to see the return of their two leading rushers and five different players who earned All-District honors on defense.

“Our seniors are great leaders. I always say that your team is as good as your senior class and we are fortunate to have an outstanding senior class this year,” Beech said.

Last year, the Hornets began the season with a difficult first couple of games; something that won’t change this season as they open the season against a top 10 ranked St. Martin High School, according to MaxPreps.com.

“We are glad we have a tough schedule, especially now that we are trying to win some playoff games. To get our kids ready for a state championship, we got to play games like this,” Beech said.

After the opening game against St. Martin High School, the Hornets will play their rival Pearl River Central High School, who has defeated them four years in a row.

“I would love to end that streak, but we will worry about that when the time comes,” Beech said.

Beech described this year’s team as “tough” with a group of seniors he will miss when they leave.

“These seniors have a refuse-to-lose attitude. They are ruthless and great leaders. Those seniors will do anything to not lose a football game and that attitude trickles down to the younger kids on the team,” Beech said.

To Beech, Poplarville is “a special place, full of great Hornets fans.”

“First year I was at Poplarville and we had our homecoming parade, I figured there wasn’t going to be many people there. However, the whole town showed up and was cheering on their Hornets. They really love when you’re doing well in football and this year I think we have a chance to be really good,” Beech said.

Poplarville begins their 2016-17 schedule at St. Martin on August 19. 

The Hornets’ next game will take place on the Blue Devil’s home field on August 26.