Countdown to Kickoff 2023: Poplarville Hornets
POPLARVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) -The Poplarville Hornets saw their streak of South State title trips snapped last year after six in a row, but they aren’t letting it linger, they’re using it to push forward.
The Hornets have a younger group than usual this year, with only a handful of returners on both sides of the ball, but head coach Jay Beech says with that youth can come a spark
“With our guys we think they’re ready and have been running our system for a while, since the seventh grade so we think it’s their time to go out there and execute,” said Beech.
As for the seniors Beech says its a smaller class than they’ve had in a while with only 14 but says their leadership is invaluable when it comes to teaching the younger players.
“Having that senior leadership is huge,” he said. “I think you’ll only go as far as your senior can take you and how much your seniors are committed and how much it means to them will determine how far I believe you go in your season.”
For two of those seniors, center Jax Owen and defensive lineman Scott Jerrell they say their exit from the playoffs was earlier than they have grown accustomed to, but they’re using it as a driving force to better themselves coming into their final year.
“We worked on a bunch of our mentality,” said Owen. “We’ve got that dog mentality, going 100 percent every play and not giving up and lining up the next play and doing the same thing over and over again. And just our physicality and everything.
“Every year we want to go win state and we thought last year it was it but we have to finish,” said Jerrell. “That’s what I took off the end of the year. It was very disappointing. I’m used to not having a Thanksgiving break, I’m used to being here. Last year it was off. We didn’t finish like we wanted to last year.”
The outcome of the season is always uncertain but what is certain is for the seniors putting on the pads for the last time, they’re taking in every moment.
“One more ride,” said Jerrell. “The last time I’ll put this hornet jersey on and these pads and play for Coach Beech. I love it.”
“It’s very important to me, it’s got a special place in my heart for sure,” said Owen.
Poplarville opens up the season taking on Jefferson Davis over at Pearl River Community College.
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