POPLARVILLE – After a successful season debut last week at Coahoma, the Pearl River Wildcats will hit the road again this week for another non-division contest at Holmes Community College.
Kick off Thursday at Ras Branch Stadium in Goodman is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Wildcats are 1-0 after their 32-6 victory over Coahoma, while Holmes is 0-1 after a hard-fought 32-28 loss to Hinds.
“They are a really improved team from last year,” said PRCC coach William Jones. “They self-destructed early in their game last week. Had two quick turnovers and dug themselves a big 13-0 hole, but they fought back, took a lead, then let it get away at the end.
“They’ve got a little bit of a different offense to prepare for, something that’s going to be a challenge. We have a tall task ahead of us.”
Despite their loss, the Bulldogs racked up 445 yards of offense against Hinds, using a triple-option Veer attack.
Against the Tigers, Pearl River got it done with a tough defensive effort, especially in the second half, and a workmanlike offense that was particularly efficient in the first quarter, when the Wildcats scored touchdowns on their first three possessions.
“Well, our quarterbacks played, all three of them,” Jones said “All three of our running backs played; I think everybody played. That’s what we expected, a team effort. We’ve got 55 members and we expect 55 contributions. I think we got that last week.”
If there was an individual standout, it was probably freshman running back Darious Leggett, whose 85-yard burst up the middle got the Wildcats going on their first possession of the game. Leggett, out of Forrest County AHS, finished with 122 yard on 12 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Mack Lowrie was a solid in his debut for the Wildcats. The transfer from Boston College completed 7 of 14 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Joronnie Hinton from Hattiesburg High led the Wildcats with 62 yards on three receptions, including a touchdown.
The defense held the Tigers to just a single touchdown, and weathered big comeback in the second quarter, as Coahoma twice drove inside the Wildcat red zone only to be denied. Sophomore defensive tackle Kendrick Hair had one of PRCC’s three sacks, for a 12-yard loss and a safety in the third quarter.
This is the 51st meeting between Pearl River and Holmes, with the Wildcats holding a 36-12-2 advantage. Last year, the two teams met in Poplarville, and Pearl River came away with a 28-14 victory.
AROUND THE MACJC
Elsewhere in the opening week of play in the Mississippi junior college ranks, top-ranked East Mississippi demolished Southwest 69-20, Mississippi Gulf Coast shook off Northeast 40-23, East Central whipped Mississippi Delta, Co-Lin got past Itawamba 26-14 and Northwest defeated Jones County 42-20.
In other games around the league this week, much attention will focus on the showdown between Co-Lin and East Mississippi, Thursday at Wesson. The Lions are ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA poll this week, with the Wolves at No. 4. Another clash of ranked teams features ninth-ranked Gulf Coast at No. 14 Northwest.
Also, East Central hosts Coahoma, 20th-ranked Hinds entertains Northeast, Jones County travels to Itawamba and Southwest is at home against Mississippi Delta.