Co-Lin smacks River

           POPLARVILLE --- In probably the most wildest game start of the MACJC’s 2013 season, Pearl River’s Wildcats fell victim to ‘too much Wolfpack’ here Saturday in H.L. Stone Stadium and seventh-ranked host Copiah-Lincoln wound up climaxing its homecoming day with a 37-27 South Division victory.
            PRCC put 14 points on the scoreboard before it ever took an offensive snap. On the game’s opening kickoff, Wildcat Ty Northern out of Rosa Fort High in Tunica hammered CLCC return man Courtney Foy at the Wolfpack 12. The impact sent ball sailing and Taron Divens of McComb High snatched it in midair and sped to the end zone for a score. Brandon King of Florence High kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead just a mere nine seconds into the contest.
            Co-Lin answered with a seven-play, 75-play scoring drive to tie it up before Charles Ducksworth of Mize High returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a score to regain the lead. Ducksworth’s effort tied with Jaron Fountain’s 2001 return for the second longest in Wildcat history.
Again, King converted and the Wildcats led 14-7 with 11:01 left in the opening quarter.
Pearl River, which fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in division play with the loss, maintained its lead until Demond Tucker intercepted Wildcat quarterback Shaun White out of Catholic High in Pensacola, Fla., on PRCC’s next possession to set CLCC up at the visitor’s 10. Three snaps later, quarterback Daniel Fitzwater hit Ross Hill, Jr. with an eight-yard scoring pass. Blayne Jones’ kicked the PAT to knot it up at 14-14 with 4:11 left in the first.
Three plays into the second quarter, King punted a meager 20 yards out of his own end zone to set Co-Lin up at the Pearl River 24. Four snaps later, Jones booted a 39-yard field goal to give the Wolfpack a 17-14 lead with 12:19 left in the half.
After The River went three and out on its ensuing possession, Fitzwater went five-for-seven on a seven-play, 42-yard drive to the Wildcat 29 where running back Kelton Smith fumbled and Darrius Caldwell out of Mays High in Atlanta, Ga., picked up the miscue and rambled 70 yards for a score. King’s PAT made it 21-17 with 6:47 left before the intermission.
Javon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards to the Co-Lin 39 and it took the Wolfpack only 11 plays to cash in when Fitzwater hit Tyson McDonald with a four-yard TD pass in the end zone with 42 seconds left in the half to give CLCC the lead for good. Jones’ extra point made it 24-21.
The first three possessions of the second half ended in punts with Co-Lin putting together a 13-play, 91-yard scoring drive on its second series of the third quarter. Again, Fitzwater shined in the drive, going five-for-six for a combined 80 yards, while Smith plowed in for the score from the one with 3:14 left in the quarter. Jones’ extra point made it 30-21.
The Wolfpack padded its lead on its final possession of the game with a 14-play, 81-yard scoring drive. Fitzwater went to the air only three times during the series, but was perfect for a combined 54 yards. Smith capped the drive with a two-yard run with 1:49 left. Jones’ PAT made it 37-21.
Pearl River answered with a seven-play, 92-yard scoring drive. White went five-for-eight during the series for a combined 95 yards. After White was sacked for a minus-eight on a second and six at the Co-Lin 17, he answered by zipping a scoring pass to Aaron Wright out of Tara High in Baton Rouge for the game’s final points. White’s two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
The Wildcats recovered King’s ensuing onside kickoff, but the game ended four snaps later.
Co-Lin, which improved to 6-1 and 3-1, mustered 21 first downs to Pearl River’s eight and boasted a 387-yard (51 rush, 336 pass) total offense effort to the Wildcats’ 168 (eight rush, 160 pass).
White went 11 of 23 (one interception) for all PRCC’s aerial yardage, while Fitzwater was 26 of 37 (no interceptions) for all CLCC’s yardage.
Wright led Wildcat receivers with three catches for 64 yards, while Hill led the Wolfpack with four for 68, Casey Gladney four for 64, Smith five for 58, and McDonald five for 39. All told, Fitzwater connected with nine different receivers in the contest.
King averaged 32 yards on seven punts, while Trent Furr averaged 36.5 on four for the Wolves.
PRCC was penalized 11 times for 106 yards, while CLCC drew six flags for 62.
            In MACJC North Division action last week, third-ranked East Mississippi bombed Northeast Mississippi 59-0 in Scooba, Coahoma picked up it first win of the year with a 47-41 victory over 13th-ranked Itawamba in Clarksdale, and Holmes celebrated its homecoming with a 17-14 win over Northwest Mississippi in Goodman. In other South Division action, Hinds nipped second-ranked Jones County 24-20 in Ellisville and eighth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast smacked Southwest Mississippi 48-7 in Perkinston, while East Central celebrated its homecoming with a 36-31 squeaker over Mississippi Delta in Decatur for its first win of the year and the only intra-divisional match up of the week.
            Four Thursday and three Saturday games are set for next week. North Division Thursday match ups include Northwest Mississippi (1-6, 1-4) hosting undefeated East Mississippi (7-0, 4-0) in Senatobia and Itawamba (5-2, 3-1) hosting Northeast Mississippi (3-4, 3-1) in Fulton, while Hinds (5-2, 3-2) hosts Holmes (2-5, 2-3) got its homecoming in Raymond and is the only intra-divisional game of the week. Homecoming contests are set for Saturday include Coahoma (1-6, 1-3) at Mississippi Delta (1-6, 1-4) at Moorhead in the North, while in the South, Mississippi Gulf Coast (6-1, 3-1) hosts Copiah-Lincoln (6-1, 3-1) in Perkinston and Pearl River (3-4, 1-3) hosts East Central (1-6, 1-4) in Poplarville.

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