By Stan Caldwell, PRCC Sports Information
POPLARVILLE – It will be a confident group from Pearl River Community College that will make the trip to Wesson Saturday to battle Copiah-Lincoln in the Wildcats’ football season finale.
PRCC kept its hopes of a winning season intact last week with a stirring 31-27 homecoming upset of 15th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Wildcats (4-4 overall, 3-2 division) battle the Wolves at 3 p.m. Saturday at Stone Stadium on the Co-Lin campus.
“We have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done here is quite some time,” said Wildcat coach Ted Egger. “This is why we play, to have moments like these.”
Pearl River has had just one winning season in the past six years, a 5-4 mark in 2014.
Co-Lin (4-4, 2-3) was ranked 18th in the nation in the NJCAA preseason poll, rising as high as No. 13 after a 2-0 start, but the Wolves dropped out of the rankings after back-to-back losses to Gulf Coast and Jones County.
“They’re like we are, a good football team that has had some things not go their way,” said Egger. “They have a chance for a winning season like we do, so we have to work hard in practice and get ready for this last game.”
Co-Lin rolled over Southwest Mississippi 45-3 last week at Summit.
PRCC got a standout performance from its defense last week, holding the Bulldogs to just 266 yards of offense and forcing two critical turnovers that led to Wildcat touchdowns.
Freshman linebacker Cory Jackson (Jackson), this week’s MACJC Defensive Player of the Week, had a big role for the defense, with 8 tackles (6 solos and 4 for losses of 22 yards), two sacks and a pass-breakup.
The Wildcats also got a 27-carry, 125-yard effort from redshirt freshman Caleb Batie (Foxworth) and three rushing scores, plus a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Markevion Quinn (Ruleville).
The Wolves are led by quarterback Woody Barrett, who has thrown for 1,034 yards and six touchdowns, and rushed for 493 yards and six more scores.
This will be the 82nd meeting between the two schools in one of PRCC’s most tightly-contested series, with the Wildcats holding a 41-38-3 advantage. Co-Lin won last year’s game, also the season finale, 31-17 at Poplarville.
The last time Pearl River played at Wesson, the Wildcats pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history, a 17-9 win over what was at the time the No. 1 team in the nation.
AROUND THE MACJC
In other action around the MACJC last week, Jones County clinched the South Division title with a 41-36 win over previously-undefeated Hinds. The Eagles were assured of the No. 2 spot in the division with the Wildcats’ victory over Gulf Coast.
Also, East Mississippi crushed Coahoma 72-7, Itawamba routed Mississippi Delta 62-14, Holmes edged Northeast 51-49 and Northwest blanked East Central 38-0.
The big game this week is Thursday, with Northwest (6-1, 4-1) traveling to Northeast (3-5, 2-3). The Rangers need a win to clinch the North Division title. Also Thursday, Southwest (0-8, 0-5) is at East Central (1-7, 0-5)
Saturday’s schedule features a possible playoff preview when East Mississippi (7-1, 5-1) visits Hinds (6-1, 5-1). Also, Itawamba (5-3, 4-1) looks to keep its playoff hopes alive at Holmes (6-2, 4-2), Jones (7-1, 4-1) travels to Gulf Coast (5-3, 3-2) and Mississippi Delta (0-8, 0-5) is at Coahoma (1-7, 0-5).
ON THE AIR
Photo courtesy of Juco Weekly