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Hornets secure win against Bulldogs in first round of playoffs

By Nick Ray

Item Correspondent

POPLARVILLE — A 50-point first half by the Poplarville Hornets was more than enough to defeat the Lanier Bulldogs in a 50-20 Class 4A first round victory on Friday night.

With the win, Poplarville (10-1) advances to the second round of postseason to continue its quest to complete the “Unfinished Business” campaign of 2018.

Scoring came quickly and often as the Hornets scored on the second play from scrimmage on the evening with a 56-yard touchdown run by Chase Shears. Ethan Spiers’ point-after-touchdown attempt was good as the Hornets led 7-0 at the 11:07 mark of the first quarter.

Lanier fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which set a one-play scoring drive for the Hornets. Senior quarterback Antonio Barnes hit Ahmad Bolton for a 28-yard touchdown catch. Spiers’ PAT was good, and the Hornets led 14-0 with 10:50 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Bulldog drive stalled at the Hornets’ 39-yard line on downs, Poplarville surged ahead with its third score of the quarter. Nine plays into the drive, Corey Knight added a three-yard touchdown rush. Spiers’ PAT failed, but the Hornets led 20-0 at the 5:39 mark.

Lanier’s next drive went into reverse in three plays which also resulted in a punt that traveled only five yards. Poplarville began the drive at the Bulldogs’ 21-yard line. Three plays later, the Hornets took advantage of the field position as Bolton scored on a five-yard touchdown run. Spiers’ PAT was good and Poplarville led 27-0 with 3:43 remaining in the first quarter.

Lanier self-destructed once more on the next drive with negative plays and penalties.

On a second down and long play, Bulldog quarterback Chrishaun Williams’ scramble in the end zone resulted in an intentional grounding penalty. The result of the Lanier infraction gave Poplarville a safety. With 2:23 remaining in the first quarter, Poplarville’s lead increased to 29-0.

On the first play of the next drive Barnes passed to Andrew Smith for 27 yards. Ethan Taylor then exploded for 25 yards for a Hornet touchdown. Spiers’ PAT was good, and Poplarville extended to margin to 36-0 with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Lanier punt, Poplarville started another drive to the end zone beginning at the Hornets’ 44-yard line. Five plays later, Sears added his second touchdown of the night on a three-yard rush. Spiers’ PAT was good, and Poplarville led 43-0 at the 9:12 mark of the second quarter.

Poplarville’s final score of the evening was set up by a Lanier fumble that was recovered by the Hornets’ Brix Crumbie at the Bulldogs’ 18. Four plays later, junior Caziah Daniels scored on a 15-yard touchdown run. Spiers’ PAT was good, and Poplarville led 50-0 with 1:37 left in the first half.

Lanier broke into the scoring column on a 76-yard touchdown pass from the Bulldogs Williams to wide receiver Cornelius Scott IV. The two-point conversion attempt failed at the 45 second mark of the second quarter. Poplarville led 50-6 at halftime.

Poplarville reserve players were given playing time in the second half as Lanier (6-5) tacked on two touchdowns in the final half of the evening.

The Bulldogs’ Willie Preston scored on a 12-yard rushing touchdown. Williams scored on a two-point play at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter.

Ladarius Mayes-Peales ran a 15-yard touchdown with 5:28 remaining in the game to conclude the scoring on the evening as Poplarville claimed the 30-point victory.