Austin Bolton rushed for 232 yards and scored three touchdowns on 10 carries as Poplarville beat Picayune 27-24 on Friday night.
It was like a playoff-like atmosphere with a packed stadium of fans standing four deep around the perimeter of the field.
Bolton had a fourth touchdown, a 94-yarder, called back in the fourth quarter.
Picayune led 24-13 at halftime, but Poplarville scored the game’s final 14 points.
Bolton’s third touchdown of the night, a 36-yard score cut Picayune’s lead to 24-19.
Roosevelt Raine’s 37-yard TD run and 2-point conversion run gave the Hornets a 27-24 lead. He finished with 125 yards and a score.
“I thought we were battling hard with them in the first half with great defense, but they were making some plays,” said Poplarville coach Jay Beech. “They converted some fourth downs. You’ve got to give them some credit for that.
“The second half we battled the same way, but they weren’t able to make those plays. Our defensive guys are tough. We’re proud of the way they played. We get after it every day in practice. We’ve got a good scheme; it’s real simple. They play hard.”
Picayune took a 7-0 lead as Tyler Penton scored from one yard out.
Poplarville answered quickly, as Bolton scored on a 73-yard run to tie the game at 7-7.
V.J. Holt’s 9-yard run gave the Maroon Tide a 14-7 lead. Jortin Raine’s 15-yard run gave Picayune a 21-7 lead.
But Poplarville hung around on Bolton’s 63-yard touchdown run, bringing the Hornets within 21-13. Picayune added a field goal for a 24-13 halftime lead.
“The team that wanted it won it,” said Picayune coach Dodd Lee. “The team with the most leadership, the team in better shape won the game. They outplayed us, they out-coached us and they out-hustled us. They ran their base offense and they crushed us. We stopped them a little in the fourth quarter, but the third quarter was terrible. We ran three plays in the third quarter. We’re just not a team yet.”
Along with Bolton’s output, Raine carried for 125 yards and a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Tyson Holston rushed for 64 yards and a 10-yard kickoff return.
Anderson led the Maroon Tide with 84 rushing yards.