Pearl River Community College football begins a new era Thursday, when the Wildcats open the 2016 season against Northeast Mississippi in David Saunders’ debut as head coach.
Kickoff at Tiger Stadium in Booneville is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Although Saunders is in his first season as the coach at PRCC, he is no stranger to football in Mississippi.
The Pearl River Community College men suffered a 5-2 setback to Itawamba in the 2016 regular-season opener Saturday at the PRCC Sports Complex.
The Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead at 26:18, when Jackson Turner headed in a corner kick from Junior Sanchez.
It was a costly score, however, as Turner and Itawamba defender Bryce Hunt collided on the play. Both players had to leave the game to receive stitches and did not return.
The Pearl River Community College Lady Wildcats opened their 2016 soccer season by defeating Itawamba 2-0 Saturday at the PRCC Sports Complex.
Despite owning a 13-4 advantage in shots, and a 5-0 edge in shots-on-goal, the two teams finished the first half in a scoreless deadlock.
"Itawamba defended well, but they also tried to counter us, and on a couple of occasions nearly scored on us,” said PRCC coach Jack Byrd. “However, I liked our possession (percentage) in the first 45 minutes.”
After an unprecedented period of dominance, the Pearl River Community College men’s soccer team may finally be facing a rebuilding program under a new coach.
The Wildcats have won four consecutive MACJC/Region 23 Tournament state championships, but if Pearl River is to make it five straight, a young team is going to gel quickly.
Despite losing practically all of its scoring from last season, the Pearl River Community College women expect to challenge for another MACJC state soccer championship in 2016.
The Lady Wildcats won their second straight state title last fall, and their third in the past four seasons, and veteran head coach Jack Byrd thinks he’s reloaded for another championship run.
“Last year was a sophomore-heavy team,” Byrd said. “We had six freshman. This year, we are definitely a freshman-heavy team.”
Pearl River Community College showed big improvement on defense in the Wildcats’ second preseason football scrimmage Saturday night at Dobie Holden Stadium.
After allowing 511 yards in last week’s scrimmage, the Wildcats kept the offense off the board in the first half and surrendered just 289 yards this week.
“Last week, we were sloppy, very sloppy,” said sophomore cornerback Tyler Jack, who had a key interception to snuff out a drive midway through the first half. “This week, we came out and made big plays like we were supposed to do.”