River rebounds with hard-fought 34-14 victory over Itawamba

September 10, 2010 - 12:09pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - Twenty-first-ranked Pearl River Community College scored 20 second-half points to take a hard-fought 34-14 MACJC non-division victory over Itawamba for its first win of the 2010 season here Thursday in Dobie Holden Stadium.Then-13th-ranked PRCC opened the year with a 27-17 setback to now-15th-ranked Northwest Mississippi a week ago thanks to five Wildcat turnovers, but cashed in on its first two possessions of its ICC contest to take a 14-0 lead.Its offense, however, sputtered at that point until late in the third period.Ninth-year Wildcat head coach Tim Hatten took the win for what it was."It wasn''t pretty by no stretch of the imagination," Hatten said. "But a win is a win and you''re always glad to get a W. But one good thing that came it is that we didn''t commit a single turnover and we caused three."That''s (turnovers) what killed us in our season opener against Northwest. I said it last week and I''ll say it again, there''s not a team in the country that can overcome five...particularly when you only get two two back."And we held our penalties to a minimum. Last week we were flagged for 144 yards."Pearl River''s offensive production was a bit off from its opener, but wound up finishing the night with 299 total yards (144 rush, 155 pass), while ICC bested that mark with 316 (22 rush, 294 pass).Indian wide receiver D''Angelo Henry accounted for both ICC TDs (54 and 75 yards, respectively)."Take away those two big plays and their offensive production drops a bunch," Hatten added. "Defensively, we just weren''t tackling very well, but Henry''s a good player...give him credit."After Steve McNair, Jr., of Oak Grove High returned the opening kickoff 28 yards to his own 42, it took the Wildcats only eight plays to find the end zone. Six of the eight snaps were running plays, while quarterback Melvin German of Fort Myers, Fla., was one of two through the air in the series for 17 yards.After keeping for 15 yards to convert a second and 10, running back Steve Simon of East Marion ran for three then German hit him with a 17-yard completion to the Indian 23. Daryl Bourne of Hattiesburg High then ran for nine to the 14, but it was another HHS running back - Marcquis Smith - the rest of the way. Smith plowed over from the one for the opening score and Ryan Knight of Sumrall High booted the extra point to make it 7-0 with 11:42 left in the first period.Knight, who was subbing for All-American candidate place kicker Travis Bradley of Pascagoula High who suffered a high ankle sprain on his kicking foot last Saturday in a soccer game with the Delta State University junior varsity, finished the night with a four-of-five PAT effort.After the Wildcat defense held ICC to a three and out and punter Will Goodwin shanked a five yarder to his own 39, PRCC cashed in again. German hit Simon with a 17-yard pass on first down, then hit Simon again on third down for six and Seth Roberts of Tallahassee, Fla., for eight to convert a fourth and six to the 10. After an incompletion, Simon carried it in for the score. Knight''s PAT made it 14-0 with 7:49 left in the first.After an exchange of punts, Knight''s unreturned 31-yard kick put Itawamba in business near midfield and quarterback Andy Wilson hit Henry with a 54-yard scoring pass on a third and 10. Goodwin''s extra point made it 14-7 with 3:17 left in the quarter.Four possessions later, Knight shanked a punt for nine yards giving ICC possession at the Wildcat 40, but seven plays later Goodwin missed on a 45-yard field goal attempt. On the Indians next possession, Kelly engineered a 13-play, 60-play drive from his own seven to the Wildcat 33, but was sacked for a minus-four on a fourth and three in the final seconds before the intermission. The River took over and German took a knee to end the half.Itawamba drove 57 yards in seven plays to the PRCC 13 on the second half''s opening possession, but Kelly was picked off by Tobias Irby at the three and the sophomore DB from Oak Grove High returned his pick 21 yards to the 24.After Pearl River River went three and out, ICC drove to the Wildcat 41 but Kelly threw incomplete on a fourth and three. Another PRCC three and out ensued and Kelly was picked off on a second and 13 by Delvin Ervin, another Oak Grove High product, at his own 36. Ervin''s antics seemingly inspired the Wildcat offense, which marched 64 yards on the next eight snaps to the end zone.German hit Jhyryan Taylor of Franklinton, La., on second down for an 11-yard gain, then found Roberts for five before Simon burst for nine yards. Two incompletions later, German hit Taylor with an 11-yard catch and run score. Knight''s PAT made it 21-7 with 2:04 left in the third.Ervin intercepted Kelly again on ICC''s ensuing possession, grabbing his pick at his own 35 and returning it 24 yards to the Indian 41. Five snaps later, German hit Roberts with a six-yard scoring pass. Knight''s extra point made it 28-7 with 13:19 left.After ICC''s William Green returned the ensuing kickoff 22 yards to his own 25, Kelly hit Henry with a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown on first down. Goodwin''s PAT made it 28-14 with 12:57 left.PRCC scored the game''s final points on the ensuing possession when German drove the Wildcats 80 yards in nine plays, carrying it in himself from the 10 with 8:34 left to make it 34-14. Knight''s PAT was no good. Bourne had a 25-yard run in the series, while Simon had a 12-yard catch.German threw incomplete on a fourth and two at the Indian 44 on the Wildcats'' next possession, while Kelly followed suit on ICC''s next possession on a fourth and one at the PRCC six where the Wildcats took over and killed the clock.Pearl River finished the game with 20 first downs to Itawamba''s 13, while Simon led The River with 113 all purpose yards (58 rush, 55 receiving). Bourne had 52 yards rushing on nine carries, while German, who finished with a 21-of-35 effort for all the Wildcats'' aerial yardage, kept seven times for 37.McNair had six catches for 28 yards, Snoop Rollins of North Forrest High three for 26, Roberts four for 24, and Taylor two for 22.Kelly was 17 of 47 (three interceptions) for the Indians.PRCC was flagged four times for 50 yards, while ICC drew three penalties for 38.Other Week Two Action In The MACJCIn other action around the MACJC - 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.Next Week In The MACJCNext week, six of seven contests will be played on Thursday with Jones County hosting Mississippi Gulf Coast on Saturday, Sept. 18 in Ellisville to open both teams'' South Division schedules. Other South openers on Thursday include Pearl River at Southwest Mississippi in Summit and Copiah-Lincoln at Hinds in Raymond. 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.