Selfless football plays a part in Poplarville’s progress

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2019

Poplarville’s varsity football team loves to run the ball as an offensive unit. The team runs a scheme designed to open up running lanes and misdirect the defense.This trickery can lead to opposing teams leaving massive holes, and Poplarville’s running backs are trained to exploit those openings.

Offensive Coordinator Micah Hickman said the offense’s success came down to a variety of factors, one of them being teamwork.

“I thought we played well as a unit,” Hickman said.

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“We were not intimidated and played with technique and played together. It was a band of brothers mentality.”

Hickman said that mindset came from a strong senior class who supported teammates even when mistakes were made on the field.

“We would get back on the sideline and there would be no finger pointing at all,” Hickman said.

“What a benefit to have something like that, to have leadership coming from every direction.”

Given the size of the senior class, there are some holes that have to be filled on the offensive side of the ball.

Hickman is losing a four-year starter who played wingback and also a senior quarterback. However, Hickman said that because of the system they run, and programs they have in place, younger players who weren’t starters get a decent amount of reps.

This means that come game time this upcoming year they’ll have experience in the offense, and know what their jobs are on any given play. That experience creates selflessness in a system like the one Poplarville runs.

All of the players are expected to block for each other, and Hickman said it’s really the culture of the squad that allows the athletes to be so team oriented.

“It’s not necessarily about doing your job in a selfish way, but doing your job for the guy next to you,” Hickman said.

“They get after it, you never have to question the effort. It’s awesome to be a part of.”

Hickman said that kind of dedication is unique, and something Head Coach Jay Beech has instilled in his players.

That level of work for the players and staff doesn’t end with the season. Hickman said the offense takes part in seven on seven competitions where there’s no hitting, but the quarterback, receivers, and other players go up against a defense to run plays they want to keep fresh.

“It helps because you feel like you hit the season in somewhat of a stride,” Hickman said.

Hitting the ground running will be important for the Hornets, who have a tough schedule and aspirations to be one of the best football teams in the state.

Hickman said a determining factor of the team’s success would also be how the younger, less experienced guys fill the gaps left by the graduating class.

“Somebody is going to step up,” Hickman said.

“I want to see the whole team buy in, and see the guys mesh as a group.”

Having a younger group may make the first couple of games difficult as the players adapt, but Hickman said he’s excited to see how the team progresses.

“We may get punched in the mouth early on, but I’m excited to see how we mesh as a unit,” Hickman said.