The undefeated Poplarville Hornets have made a huge turnaround in 2011

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email


Coach Chris Teal says his team is dedicated on and off the field, making sure they do the right thing.

It's paid off with wins over Columbia, Sumrall, Enterprise Clarke and Pass Christian.

How did the Hornets make the big turnaround?

Teal said, "Work ethic that we instilled in these boys ever since January. The effort that we've asked them to have every Friday night, not only on the football field but in the classroom. Being a winner all the time."

Quarterback Drake Hodges directs the Hornets attack mixing the run and pass. However, he broke a bone in his left arm and will miss the next four weeks.

Hodges stated, "I just love to be out there with my teammates. It's going to be tough to not run out there with them. It will be tough to be on the sidelines but I know what kind of team we have this year and I know we'll still be successful."

Coach Teal added, "It's going to be tough because Drake Hodges is a leader on both sides of the field. He's not only the quarterback of the offense but he's also the quarterback of the defense with the secondary calls at free safety."

Coach Teal says sophomore Chandler Ray will jump into the starting quarterback role until Hodges returns and he's has a lot of confidence in the young man.

Teal can also rely on running back Tyus Raine. In five games he ripped off 419 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns. He's netting 7.9 yards per carry. He says the Hornets believe they can go undefeated.

Raine said, "Coach Teal has the attitude that we win on the field and off the field. Great character. We work hard all the time."

Neeko Lockhart has bulled his way for 255 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns. Neeko has averaged 10.7 yards a carry.

Linebacker Kendell Lee leads an aggressive defensive unit. Lee has piled up 25 tackles in 4 games.

"We have great leadership not only with the seniors but with the juniors and some with the sophomore class. Great leadership and great coaching."

Brenton Gray also makes his presence known and leads the Hornets with 5 sacks.

Two Poplarville High School football teams went undefeated, the 1958 and 1972 Hornets. The 2011 Hornets hope to make that three teams.

The Hornets have an open date this week before traveling to Lumberton on September 23rd.

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