PERKINSTON — Pearl River Community College football suffered its first shutout loss since 2002 here Thursday in A.L. May Stadium.
Tenth-ranked host Mississippi Gulf Coast seemingly dominated the turnover-prone Wildcats from start to finish and took a lopsided 34-0 MACJC South Division victory to improve 5-1 overall and 2-1 in division play. PRCC, on the other hand, dropped to 2-4 and 1-2.
The Bulldogs limited the Wildcats to a meager 161 yards of total offense (93 pass, 68 rush) while generating 349 — 264 on the ground — and forced five River turnovers.
Eleventh-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten lauded the Bulldogs’ effort.
“They (MGCCC) just laid it on us,” he said. “And we were obviously our own worst enemy. You can’t beat anybody when you commit five turnovers to their zero.
“But, ironically, we’re still in the post-season hunt. We’ve got three games left (all against division foes) and we can still make the playoffs,” Hatten continued. “But we’ve got to win out and that’s going to take lots of improvement on both sides of the ball.”
The last time The River was held scoreless was in Hatten’s first season with the Wildcats when eventual-state champ Holmes took a 3-0 victory in Poplarville in the first round of the 2002 MACJC state playoffs.
Next up, Pearl River hosts South Division power Copiah-Lincoln Saturday, Oct. 13, for its homecoming game, then hits the road for East Central in Decatur Thursday, Oct. 18, before wrapping the regular season at home against Hinds Thursday, Oct. 25.
Gulf Coast went up 3-0 on the very first possession of the night, marching 57 yards in 13 time-consuming plays with Stephen Brauchle capping the drive with a 35-yard field goal with 8:45 left in the first period. Eight of the Bulldogs’ 13 snaps were on the ground.
After Jordan Woods of Oak Grove High returned the ensuing kickoff 17 yards to the 27, The River managed to drive to its own 47 before quarterback Dylan Favre, a Mississippi State transfer who prepped at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, took a minus-11-yard sack on a third and nine and Brandon King of Florence High arrived to boom a 49-yard, unreturned punt to the Bulldog 15.
Three straight Gulf Coast runs for a combined 39 yards moved things to Wildcat 46, then quarterback Clint Hatten connected with Deadrian Terry with an 11-yard completion. Dhaquille Williams then ran for four, complimented by a 15-yard PRCC penalty to push things to the Pearl River 15 and Hatten then found Williams in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Brauchle’s extra point made it 10-0 with 2:38 left in the opening quarter.
Three series later, the Bulldogs padded their lead. Starting at its own 45, it took Gulf Coast only 11 plays to move to the Wildcat 14 and Brauchle booted his second field goal of the night — a 31-yarder — with 5:53 left in the half to make it 13-0. Earlier in the series, MGCCC converted a third and 15 at the PRCC 35 via a pass interference penalty on the Wildcats.
Three snaps into The River’s ensuing possession, Brandon Keel picked off Favre’s deflected pass and rambled 35 yards for a score. Brauchle converted and Gulf Coast led 20-0 with 4:56 left in the half.
Cheeto Johnson of Forrest County AHS returned the ensuing kickoff 11 yards to his own 21 before taking the first two hand offs for 11 yards. After PRCC was flagged for motion and an incomplete pass later, Johnson ran for seven before catching three straight Favre throws for a combined 36 yards to move things to the Bulldog 30. But Favre fumbled for a minus-nine and Gulf Coast recovered.
The Bulldogs went three and out, while Johnson’s three-yard run was the last play of the first half.
Jeffery Dyson of Thomasville (Ga.) High returned the opening kickoff of the second half 15 yards to his own 22. Seven straight Wildcat rushing plays, including a 31-yarder by Shawn Jones of North Forrest High, pushed things to the Gulf Coast 20 where a muffed hand off on a fourth and one saw the Bulldogs recover.
On PRCC’s next possession, King punted 37 yards from his own 23 to the Gulf Coast 41. Williams was dropped for a minus-four on first down before the Bulldogs were flagged for 15 to push things back to their own 45.
Hatten then passed to Terry for five to midfield before scrambling for 20 yards and a first down at the Pearl River 30. After Anton Thornton ran for five, Hatten kept for 14 to the 11 where Elijah Hughes ran it in on the next snap. Brauchle’s PAT made it 27-0 with 3:47 left in the third period.
Jorrell Thurman of Florence High returned the ensuing kickoff 13 yards to his own 18 and Pearl River managed to drive to the Gulf Coast 26 in seven plays — thanks in part to two 15-yard penalties on the Bulldogs — but Favre fumbled for a minus-13 yards on a fourth and nine the MGCCC recovered.
Thornton’s 18-yard, first-down run was the last play of the third. After Hatten’s completion to Terry went for zero, Thornton ran for 11 before being dropped for a minus-two. An incompletion later, Pearl River was called for a 10-yard holding penalty to move things to the Wildcat 26, setting the stage for JoJo Snell’s one-yard run and Hatten’s 25-yard TD pass to Tyrone Williams with 12:04 left. Brauchle’s extra point made it 34-0.
The Wildcats cranked up their last possession of the night at its own 33 and drove to the Gulf Coast nine in nine plays only to see Favre fumble on a sack for a minus-26-yards on a third and one to the PRCC 35 and the Bulldogs recovered. Favre had gone five for seven on the drive for a combined 37 yards.
Gulf Coast drove to the Wildcat 15 in six plays before a pass interference penalty gave the Bulldogs a first and goal at the five. Back up quarterback Donovan Smith then took two straight kneel-downs and the game ended.
Pearl River finished the game with 14 first downs to Gulf Coast’s 22 and drew eight penalty flags for 60 yards to the Bulldogs’ seven for 70
The Wildcats finished with 161 yards of total offense with Favre connecting on 10 of 21 pass attempts (one interception) for all The River’s aerial yardage (93). Darius Holder of Lumberton High had one pass attempt.
Hatten went nine of 16 (no interceptions) for 85 yards, while Thornton accounted for 78 (11 carries) of the Bulldogs’ 264 rushing yards to pace all rushers in the game.
Johnson led The River in rushing and receiving with 55 ground yards on 12 carries and 50 receiving on five catches.
King punted four times for the Wildcats, averaging 39.5 yards a boot.
Other MACJC Action This Week
In other Week 6 South Division action this week, Hinds (3-3, 1-3) smacked winless Southwest Mississippi (0-4, 0-3) 38-14 in Raymond, while in the North, Northeast Mississippi (2-4, 1-2) trimmed Coahoma (1-5, 0-3) in Clarksdale and fourth-ranked Northwest Mississippi (5-0, 4-0) demolished winless Mississippi Delta (0-5, 0-3) in Moorhead.
Fourteenth-ranked Copiah-Lincoln (5-1, 3-0) trimmed Itawamba (3-2, 1-2) 17-14 in Fulton in the only intra-divisional contest of the week.
Two homecoming games are set for Saturday. Jones County (3-2, 2-1) hosts East Central (1-3, 1-1) in Ellisville for a South Division match up, while in the North, fifth-ranked East Mississippi (5-0, 2-0) hosts Holmes (3-2, 3-0) in Scooba.
MACJC Action Set For Next Week
Next Thursday in the North, Itawamba hosts Coahoma in Fulton, Northeast Mississippi hosts East Mississippi in Booneville, and Northwest Mississippi hosts Holmes in Senatobia; while in the South, Hinds hosts Jones County in Raymond.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, two South Division homecoming games are set with Pearl River hosting Copiah-Lincoln in Poplarville and Southwest Mississippi hosting Mississippi Gulf Coast in Summit.
Also on Oct. 13, Mississippi Delta hosts East Central in Moorhead for the only intra-divisional game of the week.