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Poplarville secures big win against Stone County 43-14

By Nick Ray

Item Correspondent

This story has been updated to reflect that Ethan Spiers scored the PATs for Poplarville.

POPLARVILLE – Poplarville fans got to watch their Hornets for the first time this season at home as they defeated the Tomcats of Stone County 43-14.

Scoring festivities started early for the Hornets on the first drive of the game on the third play of the first half as Ethan Taylor exploded for a 45-yard touchdown run. After an offsides penalty on the conversion by Stone County, the Hornets switched to the two-point conversion attempt and scored as quarterback Antonio Barnes kept the ball to give Poplarville the early 8-0 lead at the 10:51 mark of the first quarter.

Stone County’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble recovered by Poplarville’s Zack Owens at the Tomcat 44-yard line. Ten plays later, Barnes scored a touchdown on a quarterback sneak over the top of the line from two yards out to extend the lead. Ethan Spiers’ converted the extra point, at the 6:05 mark to give the Hornets a 15-0 lead.

Stone County moved the ball deep into Poplarville territory before fumbling the ball away at the Hornet 30-yard line. Three plays later, Taylor ran down the field for a 66-yard touchdown. Spiers’ point-after-touchdown attempt was good, and Poplarville led 22-0 with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Stone County responded with a 15-play drive to register its first points of the game culminating with a 30-yard touchdown scamper by David Carroll-Hilliard. Poplarville led 22-7 with 8:29 remaining in the second quarter.

Both teams swapped punts for the next four possessions and Poplarville’s final possession of the first half fell short of the end zone at the Tomcat two-yard line as time expired. Poplarville led 22-7 at halftime.

On the first play of the third quarter, a Stone pass appeared to be caught for a long gain before the ball bounced out of the hands of a receiver to only be intercepted by Poplarville’s Canaan Ray, who returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Spiers’ PAT extended the lead to 29-7 at the 11:30 mark of the third quarter.

Stone County moved the ball to the Poplarville 20-yard line on the ensuing drive before losing possession on downs. The Hornets moved the ball down the field on 12 plays to culminate the drive with a 27-yard touchdown run by Taylor on a fourth and long play. Spiers’ PAT was successful, and the Hornets extended the lead to 36-7 with 36 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Stone County scored its final points of the evening on the next drive on a 12-play, 69-yard march concluding with a 16-yard touchdown run.

The extra-point was good and Poplarville led 36-14 with 8:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets finished the scoring two plays later with multiple big rushes by Taylor that combined for 73 yards. Spiers’ PAT was good, at the 7:30 mark of the final stanza, the Hornets led 43-14.

Poplarville improves to 3-1 on the season and will host Heidelberg next on Friday, September 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.