Scoop-and-score highlights Pearl River’s return home

Published 10:33 am Friday, September 24, 2021

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The Pearl River defense came up with several big plays early on Thursday evening, but the Wildcats stumbled down the stretch against Copiah-Lincoln inside Dobie Holden Stadium. Despite trailing by only one point at halftime, the Wildcats fell 48-15.

“We just couldn’t get any momentum going,” Pearl River coach Seth Smith said. “You don’t practice and work to lose like this. We’ll watch some film and see what we have to fix.”

Co-Lin (2-2 overall; 1-1 MACCC South) struck first with a long touchdown run to open the night’s scoring. PRCC (1-3; 0-2) immediately countered on its first possession, marching down the field and capitalizing on a Michael Owens (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) 32-yard field goal.

The Wildcats kept the momentum going into Co-Lin’s next possession. A few plays later, Nijewel Coleman (Sumrall), lined up to the quarterback’s right, read the Wolves QB perfectly to pick off his second pass of the season.

Although Co-Lin scored on its next possession to extend its lead to 14-3, the Wildcats got another jolt from its defense. Just before the end of the first quarter, Jaquez Andrews (Hattiesburg) broke through the Wolves’ punt protection to block a kick. Chanton McCray (Taylorsville) grabbed the ball off the turf and raced untouched down the PRCC sideline for the 25-yard scoop-and-score to bring the Wildcats within four, 14-10.

The second quarter was all Pearl River as the Wildcats came up with two more turnovers. Early in the frame, Justin Jefferson (Memphis, Tenn.; Bartlett) came around the edge and punched the ball out of the Co-Lin quarterback’s hands. After a long fracas on the turf ensued, Kaleb Carter (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) emerged from the pile with the ball.

While PRCC came up empty on its next possession, Coleman helped PRCC come up with another big defensive play later in the quarter. The PRCC Wildcat held up Co-Lin’s quarterback long enough for Elijah Jenkins (Picayune) to swoop in and strip the ball away. The former Maroon Tide star rumbled down field, breaking a few tackles before being hauled down for a 40-yard gain.

The sequence of plays pushed PRCC inside the 5-yard line and the Wildcats’ Owens converted a 21-yard field goal with 11.3 seconds remaining to pull PRCC within one, 14-13.

Things went sideways on the Wildcats in the third quarter, however, and by the end of the frame the Wildcats trailed 41-13. PRCC scored its final two points of the game in the fourth when Co-Lin, backed up deep in its own end, sent a snap high over the quarterback. Markis Hawthorne (Moss Point) tracked the play and pounced on the QB for the safety.

Following the game, Smith took the blame for the team’s 48 points allowed.

“Welcome to life,” Smith said when asked about his post-game message to his players. “I knew this was going to take time. This just checks every bit of character and fortitude you have as a man. When these kids look at you, you have to be consistent. You can’t just be happy and cry and be tickled when you win. You have to fight with the same enthusiasm when you lose.

“We’re not going to deviate from how we do things.”

Pearl River hits the road next Thursday for another MACCC South Division showdown at East Central. Kickoff in Decatur is at 6:30 p.m. PRCC’s next home game is Oct. 7 as the Wildcats celebrate Homecoming by welcoming Holmes to Dobie Holden Stadium. Kickoff in Poplarville is at 7 p.m.

Tickets for all home games are available online at Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to secure their seat and beat the lines. Chairback tickets are $20. General admission tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the box office on gameday.

All Wildcat games are streamed for free at Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app. stores.

Games are also available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320 AM and 106.9 FM.; in Columbia on WCJU 102.7 FM and 1450 AM; and in Hattiesburg on WHSY 105.9 FM and 950 AM. The radio broadcast is also available at and by downloading the WRJW app.

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow them on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).