Hinds squashes River playoff hopes with 59-32 beat down

RAYMOND About eight weeks ago, then-No. 8-ranked Pearl River entered its 2001 football season with high expectations, but those elite aspirations were quickly squashed here Saturday with a lopsided 59-32 MACJC South Division beat down by the now-playoff-bound Hinds Eagles. The Wildcats, now 4-4 overall and 3-2 in division play, saw any hopes of post-season play vanish with the five-turnover setback; while the host Eagles, 7-1 and 5-0 and ranked No. 12 nationally, clinched at least the division No. 2 spot heading into this Saturday road match up with eighth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast which will decided the South championship. Ironically, PRCC out-gained HCC offensively with a whopping 629 yards (470 pass, 159 rush) to 557 (414 pass, 143 rush); but the Eagles played flawlessly on the offensive side producing points on eight of their 13 offensive possessions, including returning an interception for six for their final score of the contest. Pearl River, on the other hand, saw six of its 16 offensive possessions end with turnovers; including one at the Eagle one-yard line via a fumble, and four via interceptions including the pick six. We knew going in that Hinds was a solid football team, but I never expected this, said 10th-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten who hadnt lost to the Eagles since the 2003 regular season. It stumps me how you can put up over 600 yards of offense and still get beat by 27. But when you turn the ball over six times, that happens. It appeared Hinds would light up the scoreboard early. After Kiwaski Tenner returned the opening kickoff to his own 24, quarterback Deon Anthony hit Adam McWilliams with a 69-yard catch-and-run completion on second down to the PRCC five. Two straight running plays by Jeremy Palmer pushed things to the one before Palmer and Anthony were nailed for zero and the Wildcats took over. All-American quarterback Melvin German out of Dunbar High in Fort Myers, Fla., connected with Jonathan Duncan of Oak Grove High on first down for 55 yards to the Hinds 44, then found him again on the next snap for 19 to the 25. Back-to-back penalties pushed things back to the 35 where German threw incomplete before Cheeto Johnson of Forrest County AHS ran for five and had an additional 15 yards tacked on via a Hinds personal foul to move things to the 15. A five-yard catch by Duncan pushed the Wildcats to the 10 before Pacer Frierson of Picayune Memorial High arrived to boot a 27-yard field goal to put The River up 3-0 with 9:25 left in the first quarter. Then the floodgates opened. Four plays into Hinds ensuing possession, Anthony hit Quantavius Leslie with a 45-yard TD strike. Kyle Williams extra point gave the Eagles the lead for good with 7:57 left in the first. Pearl River answered with an 11-play, 79-yard drive to the HCC one, but the Wildcats fumbled it away into the end zone and the Eagles regained possession at their own 20. Four plays later, Anthony hit Leslie again this time with a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Williams PAT made it 14-3 with 16 seconds left in the first. The Wildcats followed with a three and out and Rickey Bradley of Oak Grove High booted a 39-yard unreturned punt to the HCC 37. It appeared the Eagles would go three and out, but PRCC was flagged for 15 when it roughed Williams on his punt attempt and HCC moved to the River 42. The ball was stripped from Palmer at the line if scrimmage on first down only to see the bouncing pigskin bounce into Quadarias Mireless hands and he sped 42 yards for the score. Williams extra point made it 21-3 with 13:09 left in the half. Steve McNair, Jr., of Oak Grove High returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards to his own 26 where Cheeto Johnson burst for 14 yards on second down to the 40 before he fumbled on the next snap and the Eagles recovered. Hinds went three and out and Williams punted 42 yards to the Pearl River 15 where German went five for seven on a six-play, 26-yard drive only to be picked off by Malcolm Butler on a third and nine. Starting at midfield, Palmer ran for three on first down, then Anthony hit Zachary Witchett with back-to-back completions for 11 and 36 yards, respectively the latter for a score. Williams extra point made it 28-3 with 6:37 left before the intermission. Leonard Johnson of East Marion High returned the ensuing kickoff 19 yards to his own 20 and it took the Wildcats only nine plays to commence catch up. Larry Thompson of Bassfield High burst for 19 yards on first down before being dropped for a minus-five and a procedure penalty pushed things back to the 29. German then hit Seth Roberts out of McKay Academy in Tallahassee, Fla., with a 10-yard completion, which was complimented by a 15-yard Eagle personal foul. German then found Javonte Wilson of Picayune Memorial High and Duncan for back-to-back nine-yard pass plays before Thompson ran for 18 more on consecutive runs to the seven. Wilson caught German pass in the end zone on the next snap and Frierson extra point cut Hinds lead to 18 with 2:52 left in the half. HCC followed with a three and out, while PRCC drove 31 yards in nine plays only to see German picked off by Tavarius Wilson at the 17 on a fourth and nine. An Eagle snap later, the half ended. Leonard Johnson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 33 yards to his own 35 and 13 plays later the Wildcats had cut further into the Eagles lead. Pearl River converted three third-down situations in the drive with Thompson 16-yard run converting the last to the Hinds 19 where German connected with Roberts for a 12-yard pass to the seven. German found Roberts again a snap later for the score then hit Duncan for the two-point conversion to cut the Eagles lead to 28-18 with 9:49 left in the third quarter. But PRCC resurgence was short lived. Hinds cranked ups its ensuing possession at its own 35 and Anthony zipped a 65-yard catch and run to Leslie on second down for the score exactly one minute later. Williams PAT made it 34-18 with 8:49 left in the period. Pearl River followed with a three and out and Adonis Armstrong returned Bradley 37-yard punt 42 yards to the Wildcat 13. Two snaps later, Palmer ran it in for the score. Williams extra point made it 42-18 with 6:45 left in the third. Leonard Johnson answered with a 44-yard kickoff return to his own 44, but Pearl River went three and out and Bradley punted 36 yards to the Hinds 19. The Eagles drove to the Wildcat 27 in six plays, highlighted by a 25-yard run by Palmer and a 28-yard catch and run by McWilliams, but the drive stalled at the 27 and Williams booted a 44-yard field goal to make it 45-18 with 2:26 left in the third quarter. The River cranked up its next possession at its own 18 and six plays later the Wildcats had moved to the Eagle 26 as the quarter ended. On the second snap of the final period, German found Jaquaa Peters of Columbia High for the score, then hit him again for the two-point conversion to make it 45-26 with 14:45 left. Pearl River recovered Frierson ensuing onside kick at the Wildcat 41 and it took the only seven plays to cash in again. German went five for five on the scoring drive, including converting a third and five with a 15-yard completion to Snoop Rollins of North Forrest High and a 19-yard pass play to Roberts that pushed things to the 15. Thompson 13-yard catch and run score came with 11:37 left. German threw incomplete on the two-point conversion to keep things at 45-32. Frierson ensuing pooch kickoff gave Hinds possession at its own 38 and six plays later the Eagles were sitting at the Wildcat 17 where Williams was wide on his 32-yard field goal attempt. Pearl River drove 31 yards to the Hinds 49 in four plays, but Marcquis Smith of Hattiesburg High was stopped short on a fourth and one and the Eagles took over. After Palmer was dropped for a minus-four on first down, Anthony kept for nine to the PRCC 45 where he connected with Jadarius Hicks with a 34-yard completion to the 11. Anthony ran it in from there. Williams PAT made it 52-32 with 4:06 left. The Wildcats started its next possession at their own 27 and drove to their own 45 before German threw his third interceptions this time by Jvontez Blackmon. The Eagles went three and out and Williams 37-yard unreturned punt gave PRCC possession at its own 23. Malcolm Butler picked off German at the 30 on first down and sped to the end zone for the game final touchdown. Williams PAT made it 59-32 with exactly a minute left. The ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds and Pearl River managed to move 35 yards to the Hinds 25 as the clock expired. The Wildcats finished the game with 31 first downs the second-highest total in school history to the Eagles 17. German 51 completions on 71 attempts (71.8 percent) are both all-time records with his completion mark besting his own record of 41 set in last season against East Mississippi. Pearl River 629 yards of total offense is the fourth-highest total in school history, while its 470 passing yards all by German ranks fifth. Roberts led Wildcat receivers with a school record 16 receptions for 134 yards, while Duncan had 10 for 119, Bradley eight for 89, Peters four for 45, Rollins four for 32, Wilson four for 18, Thompson two for 14. Four other receivers had one catch a piece. Leslie led all receivers in the game with three catches for 180 yards all for touchdowns while McWilliams had five for 135 and Zachary Witchett four for 55. Thompson finished the game with a game-and-career-high 83 yards on 11 caries, while German kept six times for 32 and Cheeto Johnson five for 24. Palmer led Hinds with 88 yards on 18 attempts. Anthony completed 14 of 19 (73.7 percent) for all the Eagles aerial yardage.Elsewhere In The MACJC In North Division action last week, third-ranked and undefeated East Mississippi (8-0, 5-0) crushed winless Mississippi Delta (0-8, 0-5) 54-0 in its Homecoming game in Scooba to clinch the division crown, Northwest Mississippi (5-3, 3-2) downed Holmes (2-5, 2-3) in its Homecoming contest in Senatobia, and Itawamba (4-4, 4-1) upset 16th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (6-2, 4-2) 28-18 in Booneville. In the South, Copiah-Lincoln (4-4, 2-4) nipped East Central (1-7, 0-5) 7-6 in Decatur and Jones County (5-3, 2-3) downed Southwest Mississippi (3-5, 1-4) 42-35 in Summit. Ninth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (7-1, 6-0) demolished winless Coahoma (0-8, 0-6) 34-0 in its Homecoming game in Perkinston in the only intra-divisional match up of the week.Regular-Season Finales Set Next Week The MACJC wraps its 2011 regular season next week with six Thursday games and one Saturday match up. In the North Division on Thursday, Mississippi Delta hosts Coahoma in a battle of the winless in Moorhead, Holmes hosts East Mississippi in Goodman, and Itawamba hosts Northwest in Fulton; while in the South, Southwest hosts East Central in Summit. Co-Lin hosts Northeast in Wesson Thursday in the only intra-divisional game of the week. The South Division championship will be decided Saturday when Gulf Coast hosts Hinds in Perkinston.

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