Pearl River Community College

Eighth-ranked East Miss Crushes Pearl River 49-6 In 2013 season opener

            POPLARVILLE --- William Jones’ debut as head football coach at Pearl River Community College kicked off on a dismal note here Thursday in Dobie Holden Stadium, as his former team --- the eighth-ranked East Mississippi Lions --- bombarded his home-standing Wildcats 49-6.
            The season-opening 43-point loss was the third worse defeat by points in PRCC gridiron history.
            Jones, who spent seven years at The River as defensive coordinator before departing for EMCC when his Wildcat coaching counterpart Buddy Stephens was hired as head coach of the Lions, saw his Wildcats commit four costly turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) --- three of which resulted in points for the opposition.
            “They (East Mississippi) capitalized on our mistakes,” he said. “You can’t commit four turnovers against a team of their caliber and expect to win. They took advantage of our mistakes and we wound up digging ourselves into a hole early.”
            On Pearl River’s second offensive snap of the night, quarterback Will Gross out of Melrose High in Memphis chunked his first of two interceptions and A.J. Stamps returned Gross’ first pick nine yards to midfield. The Wildcats held the Lions to a three-and-out, but Chad Cook of Long Beach High fumbled Drew White’s 34-yard punt at the 16 and EMCC recovered.
            Three snaps later, Dontreal Pruitt hit Antoinne Adkins with an 11-yard touchdown pass. White’s PAT was good and East Miss led 7-0 with 9:48 left in the first period.
            After a Wildcat three-and-out, it took the Lions only 10 plays to pad their lead. Starting at their own 39, Pruitt hit Brett Thompson with a 13-yard pass to convert a fourth and three to the Wildcat 33 before zipping a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Bell four plays later. White’s extra point made it 14-0 with 4:17 left in the first.
            The River’s ensuing possession cranked up at its own 17, but a minus-five on second down and a five-yard penalty on fourth and 15 saw punter Brandon King of Florence High punting from his end zone. C.J. Bates returned King’s 41-yard boot 17 yards to the Wildcat 31. Six plays later, Pruitt hit Kameron Myers with a 19-yard scoring pass. White’s PAT made it 21-0 with 48 seconds left in the quarter.
            After Cook returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, PRCC picked up its initial first down of the game on an 11-yard keeper by Gross, but the drive stalled four plays later and King punted to the end zone.
            After Pruitt converted a third and seven with a seven-yard keeper, Lakendeic Roberts burst for 10 to his own 40 and Pruitt followed with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Bates. White’s extra point made it 28-0 with 11:56 left in the half.
            Five series later, Pearl River had put together a 10-play, 54-yard drive to the Lion four, but Stamps picked off Gross at the goal line and returned his pick the 100-yard distance for another six points with three second left. White’s PAT made it 35-0 at the break.
            Mississippi Gulf Coast CC transfer Detrick Goff was the workhorse in The River’s final possession of the first half, carrying six times for 35 yards. The sophomore out of Hancock County High finished the game with a game-high 67 yards on 16 carries.
            In the second half, East Mississippi drove 55 yards in nine plays to the Wildcat 10 only to see White’s 27-yard field goal attempt sail wide midway into the third.
            Shaun White out of Catholic High in Pensacola, Fla., relieved Gross in the second half and connected with tight end Rusty Clark of Harrison Central for 65 yards to the East Miss 15 on the Wildcats’ first play. Goff then ran for five before two yards by Scottie Merrill of Picayune High pushed things to the eight. Goff ran it in on a third and three 7:22 left in the third for the Wildcats’ only score. White’s two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
            On PRCC’s next possession, King punted 45 yards to Bates who returned the boot 63 yards for a score White’s extra point made it 42-6 with 3:00 left in the third.
            The Wildcats managed to drive 26 yards in six snaps to the Lion 44 on their series, but White was intercepted by Allen Sentimore who returned his pick to his own 22.
            Pruitt coughed up the ball on second down and the Wildcats recovered. Seven plays later, White hit Akeem Pollard of Petal High with an eight-yard pass on a fourth and 12 only to come up four yards shy of conversion and EMCC took over at its own 12.
            The Lions drove to their 45, but the Wildcats held and saw EMCC’s punt snap sail over White’s head and PRCC recovered at the 12.
            Three plays later, Mark Moore of Hattiesburg High missed a 27-yard field goal attempt.
            East Miss iced the cake with a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive with Preston Baker scoring from the one on the last snap of the game. White’s extra point made it 49-6.
            The Lions finished the night with 396 yards of total offense (147 rush, 249 pass) to the Wildcats’ 228 (135 rush, 93 pass), while generating 21 first downs to PRCC’s nine.
            Pruitt was 19 of 31 (no interceptions) for 228 yards, while Todd Mays was two of three for 21. Gross was one of seven (two interceptions) for six yards, while White was five of seven (one interception) for 87.
            King punted seven times for a 40-yard average, while White had three boots for a 35.7-yard clip.
            In other season openers around the MACJC, Southwest Mississippi defeated Northwest Mississippi 19-15 in Senatobia, ninth-ranked and reigning state champ Copiah-Lincoln dropped Northeast Mississippi 29-20 in Wesson, Jones County bombed Holmes 54-14 in Goodman, 16th-ranked Itawamba smacked East Central 40-7 in Fulton, 15th-ranked Hinds demolished Mississippi Delta 49-7 in Moorhead, and top-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast blew out Coahoma 63-14 in Perkinston.
            Next Thursday in the MACJC, Coahoma (0-1) hosts Hinds (1-0) in Clarksdale, Northwest Mississippi (0-1) hosts Copiah-Lincoln (0-1) in Senatobia, East Mississippi (0-1) hosts East Central (0-1) in Scooba, Mississippi Gulf Coast (0-1) hosts Holmes (0-1) in Perkinston, Southwest Mississippi (0-1) hosts Itawamba in Summit, Northeast Mississippi (0-1) hosts Jones County (0-1) in Booneville, and Pearl River (0-1) hosts Mississippi Delta (0-1) in Poplarville.