St. Stanislaus seniors ready for showdown with Poplarville

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Two years ago, St. Stanislaus senior running back Patrick McRaney sat out the Rock-a-Chaws' 82-80 loss to the Poplarville Hornets.

A hip injury caused the former linebacker to miss the game, which ended up being one of the nine losses in nine games for the Rock-a-Chaws.

"Last year, that was a fun game," McRaney said about St. Stanislaus's 48-41 win in Poplarville last season. "It was exciting and this year will probably be a war as well. The team has looked pretty steady. Every week we've been practicing, putting in new stuff and I guess if something doesn't work out, we don't give up on it the first day. We keep working to make it perfect for Friday."

McRaney also plays baseball and soccer for the Rock-a-Chaws. While he has been a linebacker and safety on the football team in recent years, first-year head coach Bill Conides had an idea this summer about moving him to the offensive side of the ball full-time.

"He's a guy that can do it all," Conides said. "They call him Mr. Utility. He seems to be able to play every position. He's certainly a guy we can use in the backfield and we can use him as a receiver as well. He's absolutely versatile. He's an explosive player wherever he is on the field. It's a pleasure to coach him."

Because of his soccer background, McRaney is also the Rock-a-Chaws' kicker. The senior is 40-of-43 kicking extra points and has 10 touchbacks.

Senior defensive lineman Kevin Haas (pronounced HASS) is another integral part to the St. Stanislaus gameplan. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound nose guard is hard to miss when the Rock-a-Chaws play defense.

"What I'm proud of the most about Kevin is that he's really come into his own," Conides said. "He's a guy that takes coaching really well. He's certainly turned it up a notch this season. He's been a tremendous player to this point."

Haas had 2.5 sacks in 13 games as a junior but has the same amount of sacks in just seven games this season. Along with his 13 tackles for a loss, the senior is fourth on the team in total tackles (59).

St. Stanislaus (7-0, 2-0) will face Poplarville (6-1, 2-0) in the WLOX Game of the Week this Friday. The Hornets' offense under first-year head coach Jay Beech consists of the Wing-T style, which is something Haas knows his team must contain if they want to stay undefeated.

"Every year we know that Poplarville is going to be one of those games," Haas said. "We have to take it as a playoff game. It's a battle every year. It comes down to the last few plays. Hopefully we'll come out on top at the end."