Bulldogs squeak by Wildcats

PERKINSTON Twelfth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast squeaked past 13th-ranked Pearl River with a hard-fought 17-10 MACJC South Division victory here Thursday before a capacity crowd in A.L. May Stadium. The host Bulldogs, the defending state champions, utilized its touted jumbo package to push Reggie Matthews one yard into the end zone to give Gulf Coast the lead for good at 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the visiting Wildcats fought back valiantly only to see wide receiver Jonathan Duncan ruled down at the one-foot-line on a 48-yard reception the last play of the game. What can you say, said 10th-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten. The official said he (Duncan) was down, but he clearly hit the pylon when he fell into the end zone. That the breaks, I guess. But we left way too many points on the field. It shouldve never even came to that in the first place, Hatten said, whose Wildcats dropped to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in division play. We drove to their five and came away with nothing and the same thing happened two more times when we got down to their 21 and 30. Against a team like Gulf Coast, youve got to score points when you have the opportunity. We didnt. The Wildcats were seemingly their own worst enemy, drawing eight penalties for a whopping 100 yards, including four for 46 yards on the Bulldogs game-winning drive. Gulf Coast, which improved to 4-1 and 3-0 with the win, were flagged only twice during the game for 25 yards. Pearl River got on the scoreboard on the opening possession of the night when All-American quarterback Melvin German of Ft. Myers, Fla., engineered a 13-play, 78-yard drive to the Gulf Coast four where Pacer Frierson of Picayune Memorial High booted a 21-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 9:29 left in the first quarter. German went eight for 11 for 57 yards in the series, including a 14-yard completion to Duncan, a sophomore out of Oak Grove High, to convert a third and four at midfield. After Patrick Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff to his own 38, the Bulldogs opening possession lasted only two snaps before Derrick Bourne of Columbia High intercepted quarterback Raymond Cotton and returned his pick to the Gulf Coast 25. A Wildcat holding penalty on the play moved things back 10 yards, but seven plays later PRCC was sitting atop a first and goal at the three only to see German throw incomplete on third and fourth downs and MGCCC took over. Gulf Coast went three and out and punter Will Scott boomed a 53-yard unreturned punt from his end zone to put PRCC in business at its own 40. Four plays later, Will Burrowes picked off German at the Bulldog 23. MGCCC managed to drive to the Wildcat 43 (with the help of a 15-yard River personal foul penalty) before Scott punted to the end zone. Five punt exchanges later, Steve McNair, Jr., of Oak Grove High picked off Cotton with a leaping grab at his own 21, but the Wildcats went three and out. Two series later, the half ended. Gulf Coast Otis Jacobs returned the opening kickoff of the second half 27 yards to the Pearl River 48 and four running plays later the Bulldogs were sitting at the Wildcat eight with a first and goal, but PRCC held and Taylor Pontius booted a 25-yard field goal to knot things up at 3-3 with 10:52 left in the third period. Javonte Wilson of Picayune Memorial High returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to his own 32 to set the stage for the Wildcats seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive to regain the lead. German converted a third and 11 with a 34-yard completion to Duncan to the Gulf Coast 35, then a third and 13 with a 13-yarder to Rickey Bradley of Oak Grove High to the 25. On the next snap, German hit Jaquaa Peters of Columbia High with atouchdown pass. Frierson PAT made it 10-3 Pearl River with 7:27 left in the third. The Wildcats ensuing squib kickoff was returned 12 yards by Alonzo Lawrence to the PRCC 48 and Cotton hit Travonta Thomas with a 30-yard completion on second down to quickly push things to the 18. Three straight running plays put Gulf Coast at the one. Three straight jumbo package plays saw Cotton plow in for the score. Pontius PAT knotted it up at 10-10 with 4:13 left in the third. Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 23 yards to the 27 and Pearl River managed to drive to its own 39 before Bradley punted 32 yards to the Gulf Coast 29 that set up what would be the game-winning drive for the Bulldogs. PRCC drew three 15-yard personal foul penalties, as well as a one-yard face masking flag inside its own five to give the Bulldogs a first and goal from the four. Once again, it took Gulf Coast jumbo package only two plays to produce a score on Matthews run. Pontius extra point ended the scoring with 12:06 left. Three series later, a muffed snap to German resulted in a minus-20-yard loss and Gulf Coast recovered at the Pearl River 37, but Wildcat defenders thwarted the Bulldogs jumbo package effort on a fourth and two at the 29 and PRCC took over. Pearl River went three and out before Gulf Coast went five and out and Scott punted from midfield and the Wildcats took over at their own 18 with 1:56 left. After an incomplete pass, PRCC was flagged for holding and things moved back to the eight. German converted a third and 20 with a 10-yard pass to Seth Roberts of Tallahassee, Fla.; then found the sophomore for 16 yards to convert the ensuing fourth and 10. An incompletion later, Snoop Rollins of North Forrest High caught back-to-back passes for 16 and nine yards, respectively, to move the Wildcats to the 48 with nine seconds left before the questionable call on Duncan catch at the goal line ended the game. Pearl River finished the game with 325 yards of total offense (306 pass, 19 rush) to Gulf Coast 241 (116 pass, 125 rush). German was 26 of 51 (one interception), while Cotton was nine of 19 (two interceptions) with both throwing for all of their team aerial yardage. Duncan led all receivers in the contest with 10 catches for 131 yards, while Rollins had six for 65, Peters five for 50, Roberts two for 26, Bradley two for 23, and Steve Simon of East Marion High one for 11. Thomas led MGCCC with three receptions for 66 yards, while Javon Bell had two for 39. Gulf Coast Byron Nettles led all rushers in the game with 74 yards on 14 carries after being held to a meager 11 on two in the first half, while James Gillum had 44 on 18. Simon led Pearl River runners with 33 yards on six attempts. Defensively, Quan Fletcher of Miami, Fla., and Chris Bermond of Hancock County High led the Wildcats with 10 tackles each; while E.J. Pearson of Forrest County AHS finished with eight. Ketrick Wolfe of Sumrall High finished with six tackles, including two quarterback sacks and two tackles for loss. Bradley and Scott both punted seven times for 40.5-yard and 41.5-yard averages, respectively, while the Wildcats was penalized eight times for 100 yards. The Bulldogs drew a mere two flags for 25.Elsewhere Around The MACJC In other Thursday night South Division action, Southwest Mississippi(2-3, 1-2) nipped Copiah-Lincoln (3-2, 1-2) 31-28 in Wesson and Hinds (4-1, 3-0) smacked East Central (1-3, 0-2) 31-19 in its Homecoming contest in Raymond. In the North, fourth-ranked East Mississippi (5-0, 3-0) bombed winless Coahoma (0-5, 0-3) 56-6 in Scooba and 15th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (5-0, 3-0) downed 10th-ranked Northwest Mississippi (3-2, 1-2) 34-28 in Senatobia. Jones County (3-2) defeated Holmes (1-4) 38-20 in Goodman for the only intra-divisional game of the week. JCJC stands 1-2 in the South Division, while Holmes is 1-1 in the North. Winless Itawamba (0-4, 0-1) hosts winless Mississippi Delta (0-4, 0-1) Saturday in Fulton for the Indians Homecoming game.Next Week In The MACJC Next Thursday in the South Division, Pearl River hosts Co-Lin in Poplarville and Hinds hosts Jones County in Raymond. One South contest set for Saturday when East Central hosts Gulf Coast in Decatur for its Homecoming game, while in the North Coahoma hosts Itawamba for its Homecoming in Clarksdale, Northeast hosts East Mississippi in Booneville, and Holmes hosts Mississippi Delta for its Homecoming in Goodman. Next week only intra-divisional game is set for Thursday when Southwest hosts Northwest in Summit.

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