Gladiators of Pearl River County

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2016

Over the past month, I have witnessed some of the best high school football teams in Mississippi battle on the gridiron, putting blood, sweat and tears into each snap in an effort to be victorious.

Suited for combat, the gladiators of Pearl River County, Picayune, Poplarville and Pearl River Central, walk into their respective arenas every Friday to entertain rowdy audiences in a battle against worthy foes.

Each time these gladiators step into the arena, the crowds go crazy as music fills the air along with chants to motivate the young men for another night of battle.

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This year, the gladiators of Pearl River County are some of the best in all the state of Mississippi, with Picayune currently holding the No. 1 rank for all Class 5A schools, No. 3 for all schools in the state and No. 133 nationally. PRC is currently ranked No. 8 for all Class 5A schools and No. 36 overall in the state. Poplarville, which is a Class 4A school, is ranked No. 3 in their class and No. 26 overall in the state.

These gladiators take the field unmercifully each week in their quest for gridiron glory, a state championship, and this week is no stroll through the colosseum.

The gladiators of Pearl River Central are walking into a battle against the hungry Tigers of Slidell to keep their reputation as a top fighter.

The top seeded gladiators of Picayune look to remain flawless as they clash against the worthy Red Rebels, Class 6A Harrison Central, who are ranked No. 22 in their class and No. 55 overall in the state.

Finally, the gladiators of Poplarville will await the arrival of the Hancock Hawks as they hope to protect their record under the calm Friday night lights in a gruesome contest that will be remembered for centuries.

Among these players, some have shined on each team. The Maroon Tide’s running back Josh Littles seeks to continue his rampage of touchdowns against a strong defense. However, Littles has fought for 485 yards and collided with the end zone six times so far in his three appearances in stadiums around the state.

PRC’s leading, quarterback Wyatt Davis, has performed better each week, tossing the pigskin with extreme accuracy so far this season. He has a 70 percent completion rating, 525 total passing yards and has been responsible for six total touchdowns, four passing and two rushing. Behind him is senior running back Michael Tatman who leads the Blue Devils in rushing yards and touchdowns with 270 yards and three touchdowns this season.

For Poplarville, the offensive backfield provide an exciting show each time they step foot on the field. Both Hornets running backs, Jesse Pernell and Austin Bolton, have reached the end zone each game this season. Pernell has 443 yards on the gridiron and reached the end zone seven times this season. Bolton has a total of 426 yards and crossed the goal line six times, four rushing and two passing touchdowns.

As Poplarville defended their home field this week, PRC and Picayune traveled to attempt to continue their dominance in unfamiliar coliseums.