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Poplarville boys soccer crushes Purvis

The Poplarville Hornets dominated the Purvis Tornadoes 6-1 on Dec. 20 in the first of two meetings that’ll take place this season.

The win sent the athletes home for the holiday break on a positive note.

Head Coach Luke Gipson said the large lead also enabled him to put younger players on the field in the second half.

The Hornets bullied the Tornadoes as they maintained possession throughout the game.

Poplarville was physical in winning the ball back, which led to some turnovers the Hornets were able to capitalize on.

It was a well-rounded display by Poplarville, with the team employing a completely different line up to start the second half.

The big first half lead was the result of Poplarville being more aggressive offensively and Gipson said he liked the team’s mindset.

“I think we improved on finishing. I think we improved on being more goal oriented, seeking that opportunity,” Gipson said.

Seth Santiago had a hat trick while Zach Carpenter, Patton Francis and Alex Creel also added a score each to the board.

Santiago is an attacking midfielder for the Hornets and one of the team’s captains.

The junior has been a force to be reckoned with on the field, but now Gipson is hoping the confidence boost from the hat trick makes Santiago more comfortable in his leadership role.

“To lead the team offensively, be physical and have a voice. So much of that is about being confident enough for you to say something and your peers to listen,” Gipson said.

Francis scored his first varsity goal of his career against the Tornadoes.

Giving some of the younger players some meaningful varsity minutes in play will help the team later in the season as depth becomes more important, but it also has an impact on the program as a whole because it speeds up their development.

Gipson is responsible for the varsity squad and for making sure there’s more talent coming through the pipeline.

Games like the one against Purvis allow him to see how the new talent is coming along.

“I think that’s where your program takes over because the older guys do their job and then the young guys get their opportunity. That’s where development happens,” Gipson said.

Now the Hornets will have a few days off before taking on Greene County in an important district game on Jan. 6.