Seniors: Moving on to new challenges

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2017


Even though the Poplarville football team came up short of reaching the Class 4A state championship game this season, the team enjoyed a successful run.

The Hornets won 13 consecutive games, finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and reached the South State Championship game for the second-consecutive year.

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Anyone who has participated or coached athletics before knows senior leadership is one of the most important things that makes a team successful.

Poplarville had 17 seniors on the team this season and everyone brought something to the table, which made the team better day in and day out, Poplarville Head Coach Jay Beech said.

“The seniors won a lot of football games, they carried on the tradition and they were great leaders,” Beech said last Friday. “They worked hard in the weight room and set a great example for the younger kids and I’m very proud of them. I’m going to miss them dearly and I wish we had one more week to go but I don’t think they can hold their head down after the loss.”

For the outgoing seniors, many achieved their goals, either as a team or individuals.

“Back during summer workouts, we knew were going to be pretty good and have a successful season,” senior cornerback DJ Travis said. “The coaches worked with us everyday and they wanted nothing but the best for us and I’ll always be thankful for that. During the first game of the season against Picayune, many people doubted us but we just took every game one at a time towards reaching our goals.”

Austin Bolton, Travis, Peytan Graham, Raine Roosevelt and others enjoyed success and developed many new skills on the football field this year. At the same time, those players also grew off the field.

“I’m proud of the men they have become,” Beech said. “They are tough young men with great character, great work ethic and great skills. They learned many valuable life lessons on and off the field and they will take those lessons with them and apply it in the workplace and in the classroom.”

Despite not reaching their goal of winning a state championship, Bolton and Travis will remember their success during their high school football career.

“My favorite high school football memory will be winning every game we won my senior year,” Bolton said. “Every Friday night I learned something new and I will miss playing with my teammates, we had great chemistry.”

Travis said he will remember the time he ran a kickoff return for a touchdown against Biloxi High School his junior year and how the touchdown gave his team the win.

“With six seconds left, they kicked the ball to me and I took off and I scored the winning touchdown,” Travis said. “I will also miss playing in front of the fans because we have the best supporting fans in the state. I will also miss the coaches and my teammates because we are all one family.”

At the moment, Bolton, Travis, Graham and Raine have received collegiate offers to play at the next level but no one has made a decision on where they will play in the fall.

“I currently have seven offers but I haven’t made my mind up yet,” Travis said “Some of the programs include Arkansas State, Southeast Louisiana, Ole Miss, San Diego State and others. I will make my decision soon.”

For the seniors, whether football will be a part of their life in the future or not, they will always remember Beech and the assistant coaches for helping them improve their skills on the football field and for helping them grow into responsible young men.

“They’re a great group of people who only want the best for you,” Bolton said. “They make you work hard, they have helped us in life and they have helped us become a better person.”

The seniors on the this year’s team included Bolton, Kobe Taylor, Travis, Chris Fowler, Raine, Tyler Golden, Graham, Wyatt Duncan, Cole Hooper, Tyler Breland, Luke Mitchell, Kyle Tynes, Jordan Temple, Amari Harmon, Josh Spiers and Mike Strickland.