Hornets faces region rival Purvis in third round of playoffs

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

POPLARVILLE — After a 42-31 victory against St. Stanislaus on Friday, Poplarville will travel to Purvis High School to take on the Tornadoes in the third round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Against St. Stanilaus, just before the end of the first half, Peytan Graham and the Hornets defense gave Poplarville a big momentum boost, which proved essential at the end of the game.

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Graham recovered a fumble by St. Stanilaus quarterback Jacob Greer at about the 50-yard line and ran untouched into the end zone. The score gave Poplarville a 21-7 lead heading into the locker room.

Against the Rock-a-chaws, Poplarville ran a total of 65 offensive plays for a total of 23 first downs, 21 passing yards and 371 rushing yards.

Running back Cory Knight and Austin Bolton shared duties in the backfield for the Hornets. Knight rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns and Bolton finished with 107 yards and one touchdown.

“Knight and Bolton ran really hard,” Poplarville Head Coach Jay Beech said. “Give St. Stanislaus credit, they took away the big plays.”

Quarterback Antonio Barnes went 3-for-5 for 21 yards.

Besides the defensive touchdown, Graham also scored a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball after rushing for one-yard. Canaan Ray had one reception for 12 yards and Tyson Holston finished with nine yards on two receptions. Kicker Ethan Spiers went six-for-six on PAT attempts.

Heading into Friday’s matchup against Purvis, Poplarville will look to minimize the number of penalties, having finished with 15 penalties for 126 yards against the Rock-a-Chaws.

Meanwhile, region rival Purvis is coming off a 42-21 victory over Florence High School in its second-round matchup.

Quarterback Ty Howell leads the Tornadoes, having thrown for 1,231 yards, rushed for 874 yards and scored a total of 21 touchdowns. So far in the season, running back John Bolton has rushed for 1,438 yards and 19 touchdowns, receiver C.J. Bolar caught 41 passes for 811 yards 10 touchdowns and Jesse Johnson has 28 receptions for 513 yards.

Earlier in the season, the Hornets defeated the Tornadoes 69-34 when they met on Oct. 20.

“We had a tough district and I don’t like playing anyone twice but we have to strap it on and be ready,” Beech said.

The winner of this matchup will move on to the South State Championship and will face the winner between South Pike and East Central High School.