POPLARVILLE — Pearl River’s Wildcats clinched the MACJC South Division championship here Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Southwest Mississippi and earned hosting rights to Oct. 20-21's women’s and men’s state tournament.
The Lady Wildcats, on the other hand, opened Saturday’s action with a 6-0 shutout of the visiting Lady Bears.
PRCC’s men improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in division play, while its women are now 8-1 and 5-1. SMCC’s women dropped to 4-7 and 1-4, while its men are now 1-8-2 and 1-3-1.
The Wildcat victory wasn’t an easy one. Things remained scoreless for the first 40 minutes of the South Division contest until Mike Allizzo of Ocean Springs High put The River on the scoreboard with a goal with 5:06 left before the intermission. PRCC led 1-0 at the half.
Six minutes into the second half, Tyler Hatch out of East Central High in Hurley padded The River’s lead with a goal, but Southwest Mississippi’s Bryan Stewart-Bennett cut the Wildcats’ lead to 2-1 with a score at the 19:48 mark.
Garrett Head of Oak Grove High booted a goal with 8:50 left to make it 3-1 before Hatch ended the scoring with his second goal of the afternoon with 12 seconds left.
In the women’s game, the goings-on were similar to the men’s. Millie Barr of Oak Grove High kicked a Lady Wildcat goal to snap a 0-0 stalemate with 5:07 left in the first half and that margin remained intact until the 36:32 and 35:27 marks of the second half when Chelsea Parsons of Biloxi High and Kacy Mixon out of East Central High in Hurley booted scores in less than a minute to make it 3-0.
With 15:05 left, Brooke Blackledge of Northeast Jones High scored off a corner kick, while Farabee Shafer of Biloxi High accounted for back-to-back goals at the 14:11 and 13:55 marks to end the scoring.
Pearl River shutout Southwest Mississippi 8-0 (women) and 7-0 (men) in previous division meetings played Sept. 11 in Summit.
The River travels to South Division rival Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson for a pair of match ups Tuesday at 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) before wrapping up the regular season against division foe Jones County in Ellisville Tuesday, Oct. 16 (same game times).