River enters grid season at No. 13 in NJCAA poll

July 30, 2010 - 9:26am -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College enters the 2010 football season ranked No. 13 in the NJCAA preseason poll released Wednesday.Ninth-year head coach Tim Hatten''s Wildcats are one of six teams in the MACJC in the Top 25 preseason rankingsDefending South Division champion and state runner-up Mississippi Gulf Coast leads the way with a No. 5 ranking, followed by defending state and North champ East Mississippi at No. 7. Jones County is No. 19, Northwest Mississippi No. 22, and Coahoma No. 25."You''re just proud to get the attention," said Hatten, who saw the Wildcats miss the post-season playoffs last season after finishing 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the South Division. "The bottom line is to just win. Win games and the poll rankings take care of themselves."PRCC will take on five of the six ranked teams in the state in 2010, beginning with Northwest Sept. 2 at home in both squads'' season openers. Gulf Coast visits Sept. 20, while East Mississippi plays host Oct. 16 in Scooba and Jones County hosts Oct. 20 in Ellisville in the two teams regular season finales.East Miss finished No. 4 in last season''s final poll, Gulf Coast No. 8, and Pearl River No. 18. JCJC, Northwest, and Coahoma didn''t make the final 2009 rankings.Pearl River defeated Northwest 38-35 in Senatobia last year, while MGCCC (in Perkinston) and JCJC (in Poplarville) both recorded victories over the Wildcats 38-28 and 27-10, respectively.Following their season opener against Northwest, the Wildcats host Itawamba Sept. 9 before opening its South Division schedule against Southwest Mississippi in Summit Sept. 16 with division foe East Central visiting Poplarville Sept. 23. After Sept. 30''s Gulf Coast battle, PRCC eyes four straight Saturday contests starting with a road trip to division rival Copiah-Lincoln Oct. 9 in Wesson. After playing East Miss, the Wildcats celebrate their Homecoming Oct. 23 against division foe Hinds before ending the regular season at Jones.Gulf Coast also grabbed the No. 7 ranking in the Sporting News Junior College poll, while East Mississippi was No. 17. In the JC Gridwire-JC Football.com preseason balloting, East Mississippi was No. 4, Gulf Coast No. 10, and Pearl River No. 22.Hatten enters his ninth season at the Wildcat helm this fall and boasts a 67-16 record. His teams have won four MACJC state titles (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006), as well as an NJCAA national championship in 2004.