River gets first win of season with 30-14 decision over Delta

            POPLARVILLE --- William Jones nabbed his first win as a head coach here Thursday as his Pearl River Wildcats dropped MACJC non-division rival Mississippi Delta 30-14 in Dobie Holden Stadium.
            Jones, who opened his inaugural season as a head coach a week ago with a lopsided 49-6 loss to now-fifth-ranked East Mississippi, saw his defensive unit hold the visiting Trojans to 214 yards of total offense --- 52 on the ground --- en route to the victory.
            “We’re a mighty young team and we just grew up a bit quicker than expected,” said Jones of the victory. “We played better and executed better on both sides of the ball compared to the opener.
“Plus, errors were put to a minimum…turnovers by us were not a factor.”
            The Wildcats managed the only score of the first half when Mississippi Gulf Coast transfer Detrick Goff of Hancock County High plow into the end zone with 6:52 left in the opening quarter.
            Quarterback Shaun White, a Middle Tennessee transfer out of Catholic High in Pensacola, Fla.; opened the six-play scoring drive with back-to-back completions to Aaron Wright out of Tara High in Baton Rouge, La., for 29 and 15 yards, respectively. Scottie Merrill of Picayune High then carried three times for 10 to the one to set up Goff’s TD. The two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
            Ten unproductive series later, the half ended.
            Four plays into the third quarter, Ty Northern out of Rosa Fort High in Tunica picked off Delta quarterback Montavis Moore to set the Wildcats up at their own 39.
            After White hit Shaun Jones of North Forrest High with an eight-yard completion, freshman Darrell Robinson out of Noxubee County High carried three straight times for a combined 35 yards to the Trojan 20. A five-yard motion penalty followed before White kept for 24 only to fumble at the one and Delta recovered.
            Three snaps later, Antwone Mitchell of Moss Point High intercepted Montavis Moore at the 18 and returned his pick for the game’s second score. Mark Moore’s PAT made it 13-0 with 10:18 left in the quarter.
            But the Trojans answered. After Edward McCadney returned the ensuing kickoff 16 yards to his own 21, quarterback Lane Williams connected with Christian Stephney for a 51-yard gainer on a second and 12 to the Wildcat 30. Back-to-back completions moved things to the 22, while a PRCC personal foul penalty pushed things to the 11. McCadney scored two snaps later from the 12. Zacarion Goodman’s extra point cut The River’s lead to 13-7 with 6:42 left in the third.
            Tanner Bryan of Picayune High returned the ensuing kickoff 12 yards to the Wildcat 37 and eight plays later Mark Moore drilled a 39-yard field goal to make it 16-7 with 2:26 left in the quarter.
            The Trojans punted six plays later and Chad Cook of Long Beach High returned Alex Johnson’s 42-yard boot 46 yards to the Delta 26. On first down, White found Wright in the end zone. Mark Moore’s PAT made it 23-7 with 13:15 left.
            On Pearl River’s next possession, MDCC held and punter Brandon King of Florence High boomed an unreturned 52-yarder to the Trojan 42. Two plays later, Williams targeted Stephney with a 57-yard catch-and-run scoring pass. Goodman’s extra point cut the Wildcats lead to 23-14 with 8:39 remaining.
            Two possessions later, Pearl River put together the last scoring drive of the night. After Johnson punted 34 yards out of his own end zone, the Wildcats cranked things up at the Trojan 35. Robinson gained 11 on the first two snaps before a River hold pushed things back to the 26. White then kept for nine before Goff followed with an 11-yard gainer and a three-yard TD. Mark Moore’s PAT was good.
            Pearl River finished the night with 329 yards of total offense (162 rush, 167 pass) to Delta’s 214 (52 rush, 162 pass), while the Wildcats generated 17 first downs to the Trojans’ 10.
            Robinson led all rushers in the contest with 71 yards on 12 carries, while Merrill had 63 on 15.
            White was 11 of 15 (no interceptions) for 156 yards, while back up Will Gross out of Melrose High in Memphis, Tenn., was one of six for 11 yards. Montavus Moore was four of seven (one interception) for 20 yards --- all in the first half --- while Williams was nine of 18 (one interception) for 128.
            Wright led The River’s receiving corps with 76 yards on four catches, while Jones had three for 38.
            Pearl River was penalized 12 times for 90 yards, while Mississippi Delta drew four flags for 25.
            King averaged 41.4 yards on seven punts, while Johnson was 38.6 on seven.
 
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE MACJC
            In other week two action around the MACJC, top-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast defeated Holmes 36-7 in Perkinston, fifth-ranked East Mississippi demolished East Central 59-0 in Scooba, sixth-ranked and reigning state champion Copiah-Lincoln was a 48-24 winner over Northwest Mississippi in Senatobia, 10th-ranked Hinds smacked Coahoma 55-20 in Clarksdale, Jones County defeated Northeast Mississippi 34-28 in Booneville, and Itawamba dropped Southwest Mississippi 40-6 in Summit.
 
NEXT WEEK IN THE MACJC
            Next week in the MACJC sees six North and South Division openers. On Thursday in the North, Coahoma (0-2) hosts Northwest Mississippi (0-2) in Clarksdale, Northeast Mississippi (0-2) hosts Holmes (0-2) in Booneville, and Itawamba (2-0) hosts Mississippi Delta (0-2) in Fulton. In the South, East Central (0-2) hosts Co-Lin (2-0) in Decatur and Hinds (2-0) hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast (2-0) in Raymond on Thursday, while Jones County (2-0) hosts Pearl River (1-1) in Ellisville on Saturday, Sept. 14.
            East Mississippi (2-0) hosts Southwest Mississippi (1-1) in the only intra-divisional match up of the week.
 

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