POPLARVILLE – A difficult football season will come to an end for Pearl River Community College on Thursday when the Wildcats host East Central in a South Division clash.
Kickoff at Dobie Holden Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Wildcats (2-6 overall, 1-4 in the South Division) are hoping to end on a positive note against the 16th-ranked Warriors (6-2 overall), who come in with their playoff hopes still very much alive.
East Central, Hinds and Copiah-Lincoln all come in to the final week of the season tied for second at 3-2 behind Gulf Coast, which has completed its division schedule. If the Warriors win, they will clinch the South’s No. 2 berth in next week’s MACJC semifinals.
But for PRCC, it’s more about finishing strong and winning at home, where the Wildcats are 0-3 this season.
“Any time you have your last game at home, you want to win that,” said PRCC coach William Jones. “I don’t think we’ve showed as well at home as we need to. You’ve got to defend your home ground, and we haven’t done that.”
The Wildcats are coming off a disheartening 26-23 homecoming defeat at the hands of Northeast, while East Central blasted Southwest 47-17. The Warriors have been one of the surprise teams in the MACJC in their third season under former Tulane quarterback Ken Karcher.
“I think he’s coach of the year in our league,” said Jones. “They run the ball with balance, a lot of different ways, with lots of different personnel groups, and they’ve been extremely advantageous in passing situations.”
Sophomore quarterback Jesse Hosket is the triggerman for East Central. He has completed 110 of 146 passes (75.3 percent) for 1,308 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he’s only been intercepted once this season.
Freshman Tredarian Gamble leads the Warriors in rushing with 734 yards on 122 carries, good for a 6.0-yard average, and he’s scored nine touchdowns.
The Wildcats got a good game on defense from defensive tackle Kendrick Hair and linebacker Jarkeith Ruffin Saturday against Northeast. Hair had 13 tackles against the Tigers, one of loss, and two sacks, and Ruffin had 14 tackles and also had a sack.
This is the 76th meeting all-time between Pearl River and East Central, with the Wildcats leading the series 52-19-4. Last season at Decatur, PRCC was a 10-2 winner.
AROUND THE MACJC
Elsewhere in the Mississippi junior college ranks last week, Copiah-Lincoln edged Mississippi Gulf Coast 31-30 in overtime, East Mississippi clinched its fifth consecutive North Division title with a 49-16 win over Northwest, Hinds rolled over Jones County 38-131 Holmes whipped Coahoma 34-17 and Itawamba blanked Mississippi Delta 35-0.
Two other games in the South Division will have a bearing on the playoff race, as Hinds (5-3, 3-2) is at Southwest (3-5, 1-4) and 10th-ranked Co-Lin (4-4, 3-2) travels to Jones (2-6, 2-3). Other games Thursday feature No. 3 East Mississippi (8-0, 5-0) at Mississippi Delta (2-6, 2-3) and Coahoma (0-8, 0-5) at sixth-ranked Northwest (7-1, 4-1)..
On Saturday, No. 11 Gulf Coast (6-2, 5-1) entertains Itawamba (6-2, 4-2) and Northeast (2-6, 1-4) is at Holmes (3-5, 2-3).
ON THE AIR
The Pearl River-East Central game can be seen on prccmedia.com and prcc.edu, and can be heard on the radio on the PRCC Network, which includes WFMM-FM (Super Talk 97.3 in Hattiesburg), WFFF-FM (96.7 in Columbia) and WRJW-AM (1320 in Picayune).
Kelly Sanner will call the play-by-play, with David Sutton providing color analysis.