High School Sports

Poplarville and PRC played a rivalry game that went down to the last minute

Poplarville’s Payton Grahan dives for a touchdown during the rivalry matchup against the Pearl River Central Blue Devils Friday night. The Hornets brought home a close win with a last-minute field goal.
Poplarville’s Payton Grahan dives for a touchdown during the rivalry matchup against the Pearl River Central Blue Devils Friday night. The Hornets brought home a close win with a last-minute field goal. Picayune Item

The rivalry between Poplarville and Pearl River Central came down to a 36-yard field goal by the Hornets’ kicker Nicholas Kirschbaum with 12 seconds left to play.

Kirschbaum’s kick lifted the Hornets to a 24-21 victory on Friday at Hendrix Stadium. It’s Poplarville’s first win over PRC since 2009.

The action-packed game started with a 69-yard touchdown run from Poplarville captain Jesse Pernell for a 7-0 Hornets lead.

“That first touchdown was really important,” Poplarville coach Jay Beech said. “We knew their defense would stand strong, which they did, but we kept pushing the ball forward all game and got the win.”

PRC (1-1) scored on a quarterback sneak, cutting the lead to 7-6, but Poplarville blocked the extra-point attempt.

The Hornets responded as running back Austin Bolton scored on a 15-yard TD reception for a 14-6 lead.

Fullback Peytan Graham’s 7-yard TD run gave the Hornets a 21-6 lead.

With 39 seconds left in the first half, PRC’s Michael Tatman’s 12-yard TD run cut the lead to 21-13 at halftime.

Late in the fourth quarter, PRC got within 21-19 as Tatman scored on a 21 yard run. Tatman’s two-point conversion run tied the game at 21-21.

On the ensuing kickoff, the PRC kicker squibbed a kick to the Blue Devils’ 47 yard line. That set up the game-winning drive for the Hornets.

“We made some physical plays down the stretch but in the end, Poplarville is a great team and played a great contest,” PRC coach Larry Dolan said. “We played great. It was a tight game from the first play to the last. I am proud of my kids coming back and never giving up.”

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