Poplarville earned its first-ever trip to the Class 4A state championship Game.
The Hornets routed Florence 42-14 in the 4A South State Finals on Friday night at Poplarville.
Poplarville (12-1) will play Lafayette (12-2) in the 4A championship game at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Starkville.
Running back Austin Bolton finished with 228 yards on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead the Hornets. The Hornets scored on four of their five first half possessions and rushed for 294 yards in the first half.
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The tone setter was the game’s first play from scrimmage as Bolton scored on a 78-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead
“We come up and score on the first play of the game,” Hornets’ coach Jay Beech said. “That’s just huge, a big sigh of relief. Tense, nervous, big football game, and come out and score on the first play of the game is just a testament to our kids fortitude, their toughness and their heart. We rolled pretty well there in the first half.
“Offensive line blocked really well. The running backs blocked well for each other. Our defense was spectacular again and again. They just prove themselves over and over all year long.”
Bolton credited the offensive line for his success.
“I have to give to the offensive line,” said Bolton. “They just opened up the hole and I ran through it. It’s just my line. They do the work and I just follow behind them.”
Tyson Holston scored the Hornets’ second touchdown on an 8-yard carry.
Jesse Pernell scored the Hornets’ third touchdown on a 3-yard carry. On the play prior to the score, Antonio Barnes connected with Pernell for an 18-yard pass play.
Poplarville took a 28-7 halftime lead on Bolton’s 7-yard TD run.
Early in the second half, Bolton’s 57-yard TD run put the Hornets up 35-7.
With six minutes left to play, Holston added a 53-yard TD run for a 42-7 lead.
“We had some really good blocks on the edge,” said Holston. “I made a cut on the safety, and I just took it to the house.”
Holston finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns. Pernell rushed for 119 yards and one touchdown.