Hornets secure district title
Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 27, 2018
By Nick Ray
POPLARVILLE – After rallying to tie the game 14-14 prior to halftime, the Poplarville Hornets exploded with a 34-0 scoring assault in the second half to break a close contest into a convincing 48-14 rout of Lawrence County’s Cougars.
Poplarville (9-1, 5-0 in district play) was held scoreless until the second quarter before the Hornet rushing attack gained momentum to claim its third consecutive district championship in as many seasons.
Scoring began midway through the first quarter. As Poplarville moved the ball on 10 plays deep into Cougar territory, a run by senior back Casin Sones was ruled a fumble and Lawrence County’s Tywan Mclaruin picked up the ball and ran 96 yards for a touchdown. Jose Gonzales’ point-after-touchdown attempt (PAT) missed on the first try, but a Hornet penalty gave the Cougars a second opportunity and was successful. Lawrence County led 7-0 at the 5:44 mark of the first quarter.
Lawrence County (6-4, 3-2) on its next possession threatened to score again before a red-zone defensive stand by Poplarville gave the ball to the Hornets at its 11-yard line. On the next play, Chase Shears exploded for an 89-yard touchdown run. Ethan Spiers’ PAT was good, tying the game at 7-7 with 8:43 remaining in the second quarter.
A 14-play scoring march gave the Cougars the lead once more that culminated with a six-yard touchdown run by junior Perez Tyler. Mclaruin’s PAT was successful, and Lawrence County led 14-7 at the 2:31 mark before halftime.
The Hornets scored seven plays later as senior quarterback Antonio Barnes reached the end zone on a rush from six yards out with 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Ethan Spiers’ PAT was good, and the game was even at 14 points each at the half.
Second half Hornet scoring started quickly as Poplarville secured its first lead of game in five plays. Five plays into the 55-yard drive, Shears scored his second touchdown of the game with a 23-yard touchdown run. Ethan Spiers’ PAT was ruled no good, but the Hornets led 20-14 at the 10:06 mark of the third quarter.
Poplarville’s second possession of the third resulted in points on a 12-play scoring campaign with Antonio Barnes adding his second score of the night on a one-yard carry. Ethan Spiers’ PAT was good as the Hornets led 27-14 at the 1:54 mark of the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Poplarville recovered a fumble on a muffed return by the Hornets’ Brix Crombie. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cory Knight scored on a four-yard touchdown carry. Ethan Spiers’ PAT gave the Hornets a 34-14 lead.
After a Cougar punt, the Hornets scored on its next possession in two plays including a 29-yard reception by Tyler Holston and an 18-yard scoring run by Shears. Ethan Spiers’ PAT extended the lead to 41-14 at the 9:22 mark of the final quarter.
Poplarville added one more touchdown on a one-yard rush by Hunter Martin to close out the scoring on the evening. Candi Spiers came onto the field and connected on the PAT to give the Hornets a convincing 48-14 victory.
Next week, the Hornets will have the opportunity to host a first round playoff game. Kickoff is set for 7.