Seniors: “We give all the glory to God”

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 1, 2016

Star running back Jesse Pernell celebrates his team becoming South State Champions with family and friends after beating Florence 42-12 last week.

Star running back Jesse Pernell celebrates his team becoming South State Champions with family and friends after beating Florence 42-12 last week.

Chemistry between teammates can go a long way in any sport, especially football. That camaraderie can overcome nearly any obstacle on the field.

The Poplarville Hornets football team has talent, but what is unique about the team is their brotherhood. The success of the Poplarville Hornets has this season has not gone unnoticed. But the secret to their triumph this season is not resting on the shoulders of one or two leaders; instead, it lies on the shoulders of the 16-man senior class.

“Leading a team like this is easy because we don’t look for one or two people to lead the team, but a whole senior class who are all on the same page,” senior Aritaeus Johnson said. “It makes it a lot easier knowing the man next to you is on the same wavelength as you.”

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This group of seniors has played alongside each other since they were in the seventh grade. As they grew together they continued to climb levels, building a bond prior to making the varsity squad as sophomores.

“I’ve been through a lot with this group of seniors,” Poplarville Head Football Coach Jay Beech said, who has coached them since they were in seventh grade. “We felt they were going to be special before they were in high school. A lot of them started on varsity as sophomores and the experience they gained from starting for two years led to a really special senior year.”

The seniors led a historic Hornets team to uncharted territory, a South State Championship. Even after making school history, and being remembered as one of the best Hornets football teams to come through Poplarville, their mission is not over.

“When I set a goal, I am going to go get it. That’s the way I’ve always been,” senior captain Jesse Pernell said. “We didn’t make it this far just to quit. Every game we play we want to win so we are going to come out playing our ball in Starkville.”

As the Hornets prepare to play in Mississippi State University’s Davis Wade Stadium, they understand what’s on the line and the school they represent.

“Playing at MSU just makes us feel like we gotta play harder because all of our families and the whole community of Poplarville will be watching us,” senior Turan Smith said.

“We’re turned up to play in MSU’s stadium. There’s no nervousness around the locker room, just pure adrenaline and excitement,” senior captain Chad Hart said.

Hart described his relationship with his senior class as a “brotherhood” where they all have each other’s backs on, and off, the gridiron. As the 16-man senior class step on the football field one last time as Poplarville Hornets, they had one last message for their head coach.

“We’re all in,” Hart said.

“They’re going to have to build us a trophy case after this year,” senior captain Austin Arceneaux said.

Separated, these seniors are humble and athletic individuals, but together, they are state championship contenders and trendsetters for future Hornet generations. This group of seniors are walking proof that “when things get hard, keep going. Don’t ever give up,” Hart said, which he learned from playing for Beech.

“Losing is unheard of around here and we want to see this program continue to have success. We want to pass on a winning legacy for another senior class to pass down and so on,” senior Brandon Bullock said.

Senior Evan Smith

Senior Evan Smith

Senior Jamerrick Waller (6)

Senior Jamerrick Waller (6)