By Stan Caldwell, PRCC Sports Information
WESSON – It was mission accomplished for Pearl River Community College Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats finished the 2017 football season on a strong note.
PRCC used a pair of defensive touchdowns and another solid offensive effort to defeat Copiah-Lincoln 40-21 in the season finale for both teams in South Division action at Stone Stadium.
The Wildcats won their last two games to finish 5-4 overall (4-2 division). It was Pearl River’s first winning season since 2014 and only the second since 2010. Co-Lin completed its season 4-5 and 2-4.
“It was a great performance by our football team,” said PRCC coach Ted Egger. “These kids have been doing this all year. I think we’re playing our best football right now. I wish we had two more games to play.”
Pearl River held the Wolves to just 285 yards of offense, including just 82 rushing yards, while racking up 402 yards of its own. The Wildcats also stopped the Wolves five times on fourth down, including twice inside their own 10-yard line in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats scored on a 31-yard pick-six by sophomore J’Quille Washington (Hattiesburg) in the second quarter, after the Wolves had scored first, early in the period.
Freshman Jesse Pernell (Poplarville) had a 42-yard touchdown run, and Quinn ended the first half with a 3-yard run to give PRCC a 20-14 lead at halftime.
Co-Lin scored early in the third period, but Quinn put the Wildcats ahead with a 49-yard touchdown run, then PRCC broke the game open in the third quarter on 49-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore Malcolm Staten (Bay St. Louis).
“I feel so honored to be around these guys,” said Staten. “They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to show what I could do. It’s just been a blessing.”
The Wildcats closed the scoring on a 25-yard scoop-and-score when redshirt frehman Korbin Harmon (Oxford) picked up a fumble after a sack by sophomore Chase Crosby (Gulfport). In his final game as a Wildcat, Crosby finished with a team-high 12 tackles.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” said Crosby, who finished as Pearl River’s leading tackler this season with 72 stops. “We really wanted to come out and get a winning season, since it’s been awhile since we did that.
“Defense played extremely well today, all around, front seven and the secondary. We made big plays, and our coaches say when we make big plays and score on defense, we’ll win.”
Freshman quarterback Markevion Quinn (Ruleville) ran 19 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns, finishing his season with 879 yards and 17 touchdowns. Quinn’s touchdown total leads all players in the NJCAA.
“It means a lot,” said sophomore guard Tremaine Chatman. “It means a lot of hard work, dedication and brotherhood. We really didn’t have to make any adjustments when Quinn went in there. We just knew he could go to the house every play.”
Egger said he, his staff and his returning freshmen aren’t going to waste any time getting ready for next season.
“We’re going to give them a couple of days off, then get back to work. We need to get stronger in the weight room and we need to finish up strong in the classroom this semester.”
Photo courtesy of Copiah-Lincoln Community College