POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Poplarville has demonstrated the ability to score touchdowns in bunches. In three playoff games under third year head coach Jay Beech, the Hornets have averaged 52 points offensively, while the Hornets defense is giving up only 15 points per game.
Poplarville crushed Mendenhall Friday night 60 to 12 propelling the Hornets closer to Starkville, the site of the 4A State Championship game on December 3rd.
coach Beech said, "We had envisioned this. We had hoped for success like this, but you never really know it's going to come to fruition. We're just thankful. Thank the Good Lord because he has given us a lot of blessings here. We're happy we're in the situation we're in. We're not looking ahead. We're just thankful we get to play Friday night.
The Hornets Wing-T offense has generated a powerful rushing attack led by two explosive backs. Senior fullback Jesse Pernell enters the playoff game with 1,485 yards rushing with 25 touchdowns. He has averaged 8.8 yards a carry.
Junior tailback Austin Bolton has 1,477 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns and he's netting 9.1 yards a carry.
Sophomore quarterback Antonio Barnes keeps defensive teams honest having passed for 839 yards and 12 touchdowns. His favorite receiver is Tyson Holston. The sophomore has 13 receptions for an average of 22.2 yards per catch and has cored 4 touchdowns.
The Hornets defense must prepare for a Florence rushing and passing attack. Senior quarterback Brad Dennis has completed 57 percent of his pass attempts for 1,597 yards, 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
The Eagles ground game is led by 187 pound sophomore tailback Degerrick Lee. He has rambled for 2,149 yards and 22 touchdowns. Just like Poplarville, Florence has another solid runner in quarterback Brad Dennis. He has ripped off 1,497 yards with 20 touchdowns.
Both Poplarville and Florence enter Friday's 4A South State showdown with momentum. The Hornets have captured 11 straight wins. The Florence Eagles have run off 8 consecutive victories.