Pearl River-Perk rivalry hits gridiron for 86th time Thursday in Perkinston

POPLARVILLE One of the most-heralded rivalries in the history of junior college football hits the gridiron for the 86th time Thursday when 13th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast hosts 15th-ranked Pearl River for a 7 p.m. MACJC South Division showdown in A.L. May Stadium in Perkinston. The Wildcats, 3-1 overall and 2-0 in South Division play, enter the game off their third-straight win via a lopsided 31-13 road win over division foe East Central last week in Decatur, while the Bulldogs smacked Southwest Mississippi 34-23 in Summit to improve to 3-1 and 2-0. Just like every year, well have our work cut out come Thursday, said 10th-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten. Gulf Coast is always a good team and this year is no exception. It going to take a superb effort both offensively and defensively for us to come with a win. A year ago, The River spotted then No. 1-ranked and undefeated Gulf Coast 20 first-half points before getting on track to roll to a huge 30-27 victory in overtime in Poplarville. The Bulldogs entered the 2011 season ranked second in the NJCAA preseason poll, but fell to now-fourth-ranked East Mississippi 34-30 in their season opener in Scooba before answering with three straight wins over Mississippi Delta 31-14 in Moorhead, Jones County 17-10 at home in their South Division opener, and division foe Southwest Mississippi 34-23 in Summit last week. The Wildcats, on the other hand, fell to Northwest Mississippi 56-55 in overtime in Senatobia to kick off their season and, like Gulf Coast, have reeled off three consecutive victories. PRCC followed with a 34-8 victory over Itawamba in Fulton, a 27-20 win over Southwest in its division opener at home, and a 34-13 division win over East Central a week ago in Decatur. Eighth-year Gulf Coast head coach Steve Campbell boasts the MACJCfifth-best offensive attack, generating 356.8 yards a game (second-best 219 rushing, 10th-best 137.5 passing). Pearl River ranks first in the state in total offense at 507.3 yards a game (league-best 388 passing, 12th-best 118.3 rushing) behind the talents of All-American quarterback Melvin German. German, a sophomore who prepped at Dunbar High in Ft. Myers, Fla., leads the league and nation in passing and individual total offense with 378.8 and 412-yard marks, respectively. Pearl River has three of the top five receivers in the MACJC. Snoop Rollins of North Forrest High leads the way with a league-high with 28 receptions (254 yards, 2 TDs), while Jonathan Duncan of Petal High has a second-best 27 (279 yards, 2 TDs). Seth Roberts of Tallahassee, Fla., has a fifth-best 23 (289 yards, 4 TDs). Gulf Coast Javon Bell has snagged a third-best 25 catches (261 yards, 2 TDs). Bulldog running back James Gillum averages 102 yards a game third in the league while quarterback Raymond Cotton ranks tied for seventh with a 71.5-yard per-game average. Cotton has also thrown for 521 yards, averaging 130 per outing. MGCCC and PRCC rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in total defense statewide. The Bulldogs give up an average of 286.8 yards a game (third-best 90 rushing, 10th-best 196.8 passing), while the Wildcats defensive average is 309 per game (seventh-best 112 rushing, 11th-best 197 passing). MGCCC won 38-28 a year ago in Perkinston, amassing an incredible 548 yards of total offense behind the running talents of Vic Ballard now a Mississippi State University standout who finished the night with 250 yards on 32 carries.The Pearl River-Perk Rivalry The Pearl River-Perk rivalry dates back to 1926 when the Wildcats took a 6-0 victory in the inaugural match-up. PRCC won 10 straight until Gulf Coast took a 26-6 win in 1936, then followed with a second win in 1939. In 1942, the two teams didnt play after the season was shortened to only four games due to the country involvement in World War II, while the entire 1943 season was cancelled. Junior college football play resumed in 1944 and the two teams battled to a 7-7 deadlock, then the Bulldogs won 6-0 in 1945. A year later, legendary Wildcat head coach Dobie Holden arrived on the scene and turned in a 7-6 victory, then followed in 1947 with a 2-0 victory the lowest-scoring game in Pearl River history. Perk rebounded the following year with a narrow 20-19 decision, but the Wildcats answered the setback by reeling off 17 straight wins before the Bulldogs wiped out the Wildcats 33-0 in 1966 in Holden last season. Gulf Coast won three straight before Holden successor, John Russell, won 35-0 in 1969 and 12-7 in 1970. The Bulldogs were 37-21 winners in 1971, but the Wildcats pulled off a thrilling 22-21 victory in 1972 and a 10-3 win in 1973 in Russell last season at PRCC. From 1974 through 1986, Gulf Coast won 11 of 13 under long-time head coach George Sekul, who is the winningest coach in junior college history, but PRCC rebounded with seven straight, including 1993''s 64-20 blowout, before the Bulldogs won 25-14 in 1994. Pearl River took a 21-14 win in 1995 in Keith Daniels first season at the Wildcat helm, but Perk won 27-23 in 1996. In 1997, the rivalry saw the high-scoring 61-55 battle that boasted numerous record-breaking individual and team efforts. Gulf Coast won three straight until 2001''s lopsided 52-9 victory in Poplarville. In that game, the Wildcats obviously celebrated Homecoming in grand style in the record-setting blowout over the Bulldogs behind then-head coach Scott Maxfield touted air raid offense which was tops in the nation in 2001. Pearl River finished that game with 661 total offensive yards (second highest in history) and a record 35 first downs behind the talents of All-American quarterback Charlie Reeve. Besides Reeve throwing antics in the 2001 game, PRCC boasted two 100-yard rushers in Kris Cannon and Kiel Angry. Cannon amassed 182 yards of total offense against the Bulldogs, including a career-high 122 yards on the ground. Angry finished the afternoon with 109 yards. The Wildcats took a muddy, come-from-behind 42-41 victory in Perkinston in 2002; then bounced back with a 38-0 blowout in Poplarville in 2003 state championship season. The Bulldogs won a high-scoring 55-47 regular-season thriller in 2005; snapping a record 23-game winning streak by then-defending NJCAA national champion PRCC. But the Wildcats avenged the setback a month later with a hard-fought 25-19 victory in the MACJC title bout for the state championship. In 2006, a standing-room-only crowd estimated at 8,000-plus packed Holden Stadium in a battle between the rivals ranked first (PRCC) and third (MGCCC) in the NJCAA with the Wildcats taking a 36-22 victory. In 2007, Gulf Coast took a hard-fought 24-17 win over The River amidst the muck and mud of A.L. May Stadium in Perkinston in both squads South Division openers, while the Bulldogs used a late touchdown to trim the Wildcats 10-3 in Poplarville in 2008''s regular-season match up. The two teams saw a rematch in the MACJC state championship game with the Bulldogs prevailing 52-7, marking the worst defeat in Pearl River football history. In 2009, MGCCC won 38-28 in Perkinston, amassing an incredible 548 yards of total offense behind the running talents of Vic Ballard now a Mississippi State University standout who finished the night with 250 yards on 32 carries. PRCC leads the series with an impressive 54-30-1 mark and has won or shared an unprecedented 19 MACJC titles, while Gulf Coast has won or shared 13. The Bulldogs have won four national championships in 1970, 1982, and 1984 under Sekul and 2007''s co-title with Butler (Kan.) under Campbell. PRCC has won national titles in 1961 and 2004 when the Wildcats took a 52-26 victory over the Bulldogs in Poplarville. Pearl River won or shared four straight state titles from 1924 through 1928. In 1928, PRCC shared the championship with Sunflower (now Mississippi Delta) and now-defunct Clarke. Pearl River won three straight championships from 1958 through 1961 and were co-champs with Northwest Mississippi in 1960. South Division power Hinds won four straight titles from 1994 through 1997, while Northwest Mississippi won four over a span of six years from 1987 through 1992.Elsewhere Around The MACJC In other South Division action last week, Mississippi Gulf Coast (3-1, 2-0) downed Southwest Mississippi(1-3, 0-2) in Summit and Copiah-Lincoln (3-1, 1-1) pulled off a 14-7 South Division win over Jones County (2-2, 0-2) in Ellisville. In the North, fourth-ranked East Mississippi (4-0, 2-0) bombarded winless Itawamba (0-4, 0-2) 48-7 in Scooba, ninth-ranked Northwest Mississippi (3-1, 1-1) defeated winless Coahoma (0-4, 0-2) 44-21 in Clarksdale, and 19th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (4-0, 2-0) smacked Holmes (1-3, 1-1) 21-0 in Booneville. Hinds (3-1, 1-0) blasted winless Mississippi Delta (0-4, 0-1) 48-17 in Moorhead in the only intra-division game of the week.This Week In The MACJC This Thursday in the South Division, Co-Lin hosts Southwest in Wesson, Hinds hosts East Central in Raymond, and Gulf Coast hosts Pearl River in Perkinston; while in the North, East Mississippi hosts Coahoma in Scooba, and Northwest hosts Northeast in Senatobia. Winless North foes Itawamba and Mississippi Delta lock horns in ICC homecoming Saturday, Oct. 1, in Fulton.Listen To The Wildcats All Pearl River games are broadcast live on WFMM-FM (97.3) in Hattiesburg, WFFF-FM (96.7) in Columbia, 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 PRCC-MGCCC broadcast is 6:30 p.m. You may also listen to the Wildcats over the internet by logging on to

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.