Pearl River County is a big enough for two dominant high school football programs, but only one of them can win our ‘News 25 Game of the Week’ between Poplarville and Picayune.
As the reigning 4A South State Champions, the Hornets are grandfathered in as a perennial contender despite their lackluster 1-3 start to the 2019 campaign.
But keep in mind, Poplarville has yet to play a school smaller than class 5A. Just like the 5A Maroon Tide, quite possibly the most explosive team in the entire state, having already scored 158 points through just three games.
As the ninth ranked school in Mississippi, according to Max Preps, Picayune is out-scoring all but one other team in the top 10 despite having played one fewer game.
Quite the showdown for Poplarville’s homecoming in the last week before district play. Poplarville Quarterback Blaise Breerwood said, “We’re motivated. We’re ready to go. County rivalry, you know? It’s fun times. Friday night, right before homecoming. Hopefully a big crowd is going to come out. Picayune is a great football team and they’re feeling good about themselves, so hopefully we can give them a good test.”
Poplarville Head Football Coach Jay Beech said, “We pride on being physical and this is our test right here. If you want to be physical, this is the night that you’re going to need that and they’re going to test us in every way possible and we’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re going to give it our best shot for sure.”
Picayune Head Football Coach Dodd Lee said, “They haven’t been to the last three state championships in a row for nothing and they’ve got a great program and they believe in what they do. And it’ll be a good measuring for us. I know if the running back they have is healthy, we’re going to be in for a tough night. We’re going to have to play our hearts out and we’re going to have to outlast him and outlast them.”
At the moment, Coach Beech says star running back Chase Shears is a game-time decision. The Hornets and Maroon Tide have split the last two match-ups in a pair of one-possession games.
This year’s cross county affair will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday from the Hornet’s Nest.