River opens South Division schedule Thursday against undefeated Southwest Miss.

September 14, 2010 - 2:44pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College opens its 2010 MACJC South Division football schedule Thursday when the Wildcats visit the undefeated Southwest Mississippi Bears in Summit for a 6:30 p.m. battle.The Wildcats enter their first road game of the year off an impressive 34-14 victory over still-winless Itawamba after opening their season with a turnover-plagued 27-17 setback to now-15th-ranked Northwest Mississippi.The host Bears, on the other hand, opened their year with a narrow 21-20 decision over Holmes in Goodman, then followed with a 20-16 victory over Northeast Mississippi in their home opener.Ninth-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten says SMCC should be in the heat of the South Division race this season."Southwest is like anybody else in the South Division...they can win it all if the chips fall their way," Hatten said. "We made a lot of improvements from the first week to the second and hopefully we''ll see even more this go around."It''s going to take our A game on both sides of the ball to pull this one out."SMCC head coach Charles Anthony brings the state''s No. 2 defense into Thursday''s contest, which gives up an average of only 213.5 yards a game. The Bears have allowed a meager 49.5 rushing yards a game through two weeks - second-best in the league - while on the passing side, the Bears rank fourth, rendering a stingy 164 yards a game.Conversely, Pearl River''s defense ranks sixth in the MACJC, giving up 322 yards a game (fourth-best 72 yards rushing, ninth-best 250 yards passing)."Defensively, we''ve been very sporadic," Hatten explained. "Last week, we held Itawamba to only 22 yards on the ground, but gave up 294 through the air. Of course, 129 of those 294 came on two plays that resulted in both of their touchdowns."We''ve just got to tackle better. The 75-yard touchdown last week should''ve been no more than a 10-yard pass play, but a missed tackle resulted in six points."On the offensive side, SMCC ranked eighth generating 348.5 yards a game (fifth-best 160 yards rushing, ninth-best 188.5 yards passing), while Pearl River ranks 11th - third from the bottom - with a 312-yard per game average. The Wildcats have managed a per-game average of 68.5 yards on the ground - 11th best in the league - and a sixth-best 243.5 yards through the air.Hatten noted the positives from last week''s victory over Itawamba."The biggest positive was that we played turnover free," he said. "And that was a gigantic accomplishment considering we committed five (turnovers) in the first game. Secondly, we held penalties to a minimum and thirdly, we didn''t allow any quarterback sacks."In our opener, we gave up seven sacks and finished with something like 150 yards in penalties. You can''t win many games that way."Both Pearl River and Southwest Mississippi are even in turnover margin.The Wildcat-Bear rivalryThis week''s game marks the 69th meeting between the two schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1932 when the Wildcats took a 20-7 victory. Pearl River holds a 53-13-3 win-loss-tie advantage over Southwest.After the inaugural game, the two teams didn''t resume playing until 1937 when PRCC won 27-20. Even though the Bears battled the Wildcats to 0-0, 6-6, and 7-7 deadlocks in 1939, 1950, and 1955, respectively, it wasn''t until 1958 that Southwest won 26-6 to take its first victory over PRCC.In 2000, Pearl River clipped the nationally-ranked Bears with a 20-17 upset victory just days after then-Wildcat head coach Keith Daniels died of a brain hemorrhage. Most football experts were stumped as to how the Wildcats would handle the situation, but what resulted was an emotional win when currently PRCC head soccer coach Jack Byrd, a Picayune High recruit who went on to star at Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) University, booted a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. The Bears had won three straight over the Wildcats prior that year''s victory.Southwest finished its 2000 campaign at 9-3 overall under former head coach Ken Edenfield after losing to Hinds 27-17 in the state championship game. The Bears'' 4-2 division mark that season propelled them into the postseason playoffs and a 46-14 first-round victory over Itawamba. In 2001, Green, Edenfield''s offensive line coach, took over the head coaching duties before relinquishing the job to current head coach Charles Anthony in 2006.PRCC defeated Southwest 36-9 in Poplarville in 2002, then the Wildcats took a 14-6 road victory in 2003, a 38-0 shutout in 2004''s national championship season, a 40-7 blowout in 2005, and a 31-0 shutout in 2006''s Homecoming game.In 2007, Bear DB Myrio Cotton returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown with less than five minutes left to give Southwest a 24-17 division victory in Summit. In addition, SMCC''s Roteddrick Cotton returned the game''s opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.In 2008, Pearl River won a 50-20 blowout in Summit and took a lopsided 43-7 victory in last year''s Homecoming game in Poplarville.In Other MACJC Action Last WeekIn other action around the MACJC last week - all non-division games - 11th-ranked Jones County (1-1) fell to Coahoma (1-1) 26-24 in Clarksdale, Southwest Mississippi (2-0) trimmed Northeast Mississippi (1-1) in Summit, 15th-ranked Northwest Mississippi (2-0) bombed East Central 41-26 in Senatobia, third-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (2-0) wiped out Mississippi Delta (0-2) 52-0 in Perkinston, Hinds (2-0) trimmed 16 th-ranked and defending state champ East Mississippi (0-2) 50-42 in Scooba, and Copiah-Lincoln (2-0) smacked Holmes (0-2) 28-9 in Wesson.This Week''s MACJC LineupThis week, six of seven contests will be played on Thursday, while Jones County hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast on Saturday, Sept. 18 in Ellisville to open both teams'' South Division schedules. Copiah-Lincoln at Hinds open their South schedules in Raymond on Thursday, while North Division Thursday openers include Holmes at Coahoma in Goodman, Northwest Mississippi at East Mississippi in Scooba, and Mississippi Delta at Northeast Mississippi in Booneville. East Central hosts Itawamba Thursday in Decatur for the only non-division match-up of the week.Wildcats Over The AirwavesAll Pearl River games are broadcast live on WFMM-FM (97.3) in Hattiesburg, WFFF-FM (96.7) in Columbia, WBOX-FM (92.9) and WBOX-AM (920) in Bogalusa, La.; and WRJW-AM (1320) in Picayune. Long-time play-by-play announcer Jason Baker, color commentator Clay Sweet, and sideline reporter Jeff Lossett will handle the broadcast. Air time for Thursday''s Southwest broadcast is 2:30 p.m. You may also listen to the Wildcats over the internet by logging on to www.prcc.edu. Click on the icon at the bottom left of the screen, and follow the instructions.n Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication, please contact Tonia Moody, ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator, at P.O. Box 5118, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060.The Wildcats enter their first road game of the year off an impressive 34-14 victory over still-winless Itawamba after opening their season with a turnover-plagued 27-17 setback to now-15th-ranked Northwest Mississippi.The host Bears, on the other hand, opened their year with a narrow 21-20 decision over Holmes in Goodman, then followed with a 20-16 victory over Northeast Mississippi in their home opener.Ninth-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten says SMCC should be in the heat of the South Division race this season."Southwest is like anybody else in the South Division...they can win it all if the chips fall their way," Hatten said. "We made a lot of improvements from the first week to the second and hopefully we''ll see even more this go around."It''s going to take our A game on both sides of the ball to pull this one out."SMCC head coach Charles Anthony brings the state''s No. 2 defense into Thursday''s contest, which gives up an average of only 213.5 yards a game. The Bears have allowed a meager 49.5 rushing yards a game through two weeks - second-best in the league - while on the passing side, the Bears rank fourth, rendering a stingy 164 yards a game.Conversely, Pearl River''s defense ranks sixth in the MACJC, giving up 322 yards a game (fourth-best 72 yards rushing, ninth-best 250 yards passing)."Defensively, we''ve been very sporadic," Hatten explained. "Last week, we held Itawamba to only 22 yards on the ground, but gave up 294 through the air. Of course, 129 of those 294 came on two plays that resulted in both of their touchdowns."We''ve just got to tackle better. The 75-yard touchdown last week should''ve been no more than a 10-yard pass play, but a missed tackle resulted in six points."On the offensive side, SMCC ranked eighth generating 348.5 yards a game (fifth-best 160 yards rushing, ninth-best 188.5 yards passing), while Pearl River ranks 11th - third from the bottom - with a 312-yard per game average. The Wildcats have managed a per-game average of 68.5 yards on the ground - 11th best in the league - and a sixth-best 243.5 yards through the air.Hatten noted the positives from last week''s victory over Itawamba."The biggest positive was that we played turnover free," he said. "And that was a gigantic accomplishment considering we committed five (turnovers) in the first game. Secondly, we held penalties to a minimum and thirdly, we didn''t allow any quarterback sacks."In our opener, we gave up seven sacks and finished with something like 150 yards in penalties. You can''t win many games that way."Both Pearl River and Southwest Mississippi are even in turnover margin.The Wildcat-Bear rivalryThis week''s game marks the 69th meeting between the two schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1932 when the Wildcats took a 20-7 victory. Pearl River holds a 53-13-3 win-loss-tie advantage over Southwest.After the inaugural game, the two teams didn''t resume playing until 1937 when PRCC won 27-20. Even though the Bears battled the Wildcats to 0-0, 6-6, and 7-7 deadlocks in 1939, 1950, and 1955, respectively, it wasn''t until 1958 that Southwest won 26-6 to take its first victory over PRCC.In 2000, Pearl River clipped the nationally-ranked Bears with a 20-17 upset victory just days after then-Wildcat head coach Keith Daniels died of a brain hemorrhage. Most football experts were stumped as to how the Wildcats would handle the situation, but what resulted was an emotional win when currently PRCC head soccer coach Jack Byrd, a Picayune High recruit who went on to star at Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) University, booted a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. The Bears had won three straight over the Wildcats prior that year''s victory.Southwest finished its 2000 campaign at 9-3 overall under former head coach Ken Edenfield after losing to Hinds 27-17 in the state championship game. The Bears'' 4-2 division mark that season propelled them into the postseason playoffs and a 46-14 first-round victory over Itawamba. In 2001, Green, Edenfield''s offensive line coach, took over the head coaching duties before relinquishing the job to current head coach Charles Anthony in 2006.PRCC defeated Southwest 36-9 in Poplarville in 2002, then the Wildcats took a 14-6 road victory in 2003, a 38-0 shutout in 2004''s national championship season, a 40-7 blowout in 2005, and a 31-0 shutout in 2006''s Homecoming game.In 2007, Bear DB Myrio Cotton returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown with less than five minutes left to give Southwest a 24-17 division victory in Summit. In addition, SMCC''s Roteddrick Cotton returned the game''s opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.In 2008, Pearl River won a 50-20 blowout in Summit and took a lopsided 43-7 victory in last year''s Homecoming game in Poplarville.In Other MACJC Action Last WeekIn other action around the MACJC last week - all non-division games - 11th-ranked Jones County (1-1) fell to Coahoma (1-1) 26-24 in Clarksdale, Southwest Mississippi (2-0) trimmed Northeast Mississippi (1-1) in Summit, 15th-ranked Northwest Mississippi (2-0) bombed East Central 41-26 in Senatobia, third-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (2-0) wiped out Mississippi Delta (0-2) 52-0 in Perkinston, Hinds (2-0) trimmed 16 th-ranked and defending state champ East Mississippi (0-2) 50-42 in Scooba, and Copiah-Lincoln (2-0) smacked Holmes (0-2) 28-9 in Wesson.This Week''s MACJC LineupThis week, six of seven contests will be played on Thursday, while Jones County hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast on Saturday, Sept. 18 in Ellisville to open both teams'' South Division schedules. Copiah-Lincoln at Hinds open their South schedules in Raymond on Thursday, while North Division Thursday openers include Holmes at Coahoma in Goodman, Northwest Mississippi at East Mississippi in Scooba, and Mississippi Delta at Northeast Mississippi in Booneville. East Central hosts Itawamba Thursday in Decatur for the only non-division match-up of the week.Wildcats Over The AirwavesAll Pearl River games are broadcast live on WFMM-FM (97.3) in Hattiesburg, WFFF-FM (96.7) in Columbia, WBOX-FM (92.9) and WBOX-AM (920) in Bogalusa, La.; and WRJW-AM (1320) in Picayune. Long-time play-by-play announcer Jason Baker, color commentator Clay Sweet, and sideline reporter Jeff Lossett will handle the broadcast. Air time for Thursday''s Southwest broadcast is 2:30 p.m. You may also listen to the Wildcats over the internet by logging on to www.prcc.edu. Click on the icon at the bottom left of the screen, and follow the instructions.n Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication, please contact Tonia Moody, ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator, at P.O. Box 5118, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060.</p>

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