Pearl River wraps season with 24-21 double-OT win in 80th-annual ''Cat Fight

ELLISVILLE Pearl River Wildcats wrapped their 2010 football season of high hopes with a 24-21 double-overtime victory over arch-rival Jones County in the 80th-annual Cat Fight here Saturday on Sim Cooley Field, only to sit at home during the state playoffs despite their 5-1 MACJC South Division record. All of PRCC post-season aspirations were throttled when Mississippi Gulf Coast bombarded Hinds 63-24 Saturday in Raymond, clinching the division No. 2 seed for the Bulldogs behind South champ Copiah-Lincoln. CLCC, MGCCC, and PRCC finished with identical 5-1 division marks, with the Wildcats being the odd man out via an overall record tie-breaker system. No. 1 seed Co-Lin finished 8-1 overall, Gulf Coast 7-2, and Pearl River 6-3. Ninth-year Wildcat head coach Tim Hatten said the cards didnt fall his team way. That the breaks, Hatten said. Getting in (the playoffs) was out of our hands and Gulf Coast rose to the occasion when they had to…and they did it in a very convincing way. As far as today is concerned, we just didnt play very well offensively, but youre always glad to close out with a win. We didnt do a very good job pass protecting, but we didnt hang it up when we didnt get in from the one (yard line) a couple of times and we didnt give up on field-goal kicking, either. Sophomore Travis Bradley of Pascagoula High missed two three-point attempts during regulation, but nailed a 39-yard field goal in the second OT to give the Wildcats their sixth and last victory of the 2010 campaign. JCJC, on the other hand, wrapped its season at 2-7 and wound up winless in the division at 0-6. It appeared PRCC would take an early lead when Marcus Jemison out of McAdory High in Birmingham, Ala., blocked Slater Smith punt on the Bobcats second possession of the game and Cornell Hill of Baton Rouge, La., returned the miscue 29 yards to the Bobcats one-yard line. But two Wildcat passes fell incomplete and two runs went for zero over the next four snaps and Jones took over. On The River final possession of the first quarter, quarterback Melvin German of Fort Myers, Fla., zipped a 12-yard pass to Steve Simon, but the freshman back from East Marion High coughed up the ball and the Bobcats recovered at the PRCC 41. JCJC drove to the PRCC nine over the next five plays, but place kicker Dylan Sobiesk saw his first of five field goal misses on the afternoon. A series later, JCJC Malik Lofton returned a Wildcat punt 16 yards to his own 46 and five plays later Tromarcus Toney targeted Kylan Pollard with a 10-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the afternoon. Sobiesk PAT was good and the Bobcats led 7-0 with 10:33 left in the half. After holding PRCC to a three and out on its next possession, Jones cranked up at its own 24 and Toney threw a bomb to Pollard that covered 70 yards inside the Wildcat five before Jemison forced a fumble and Otha Foster of Varnado, La., returned the miscue to the 14. A seven-yard penalty pushed things back to the seven and German managed to move things to the Bobcat 47 before JCJC Jerrell Gandy intercepted a pass to shut things down. Pearl River then held Jones to a three and out and regained possession at its own 23. German completed three straight passes with the third being a 32-yarder to Seth Roberts of Tallahassee, Fla., for a score. Roberts also had an earlier nine-yard catch, while Steve McNair, Jr., had a 38-yarder that pushed things to the 32. Bradley extra point knotted things at 7-7 with 3:59 left in the half. Two punt exchanges later, Jones County managed to drive from its own 10 to the PRCC 40 thanks, in part, to two 15-yard personal foul penalties on the Wildcats and Sobiesk arrived for a 56-yard field goal attempt with three ticks left on the first-half clock. His effort sailed six yards deep into the end zone to a waiting McNair who returned the boot the distance for a go-ahead score for The River. We (coaching staff) told our guys not to rush it (field goal attempt), Hatten explained. We told them to let him kick it and just drop back to block for McNair. That paid off, didnt it? That was some good coaching by our special teams people. Bradley PAT made it 14-7 at the half. German threw a second interception on Pearl River second possession of the third period when Antonio Parker picked him off and returned it the 82-yard distance. Sobiesk PAT was no good, but things were 14-13 with 8:36 left in the quarter. PRCC answered with a 13-play, 68-yard drive to the JCJC eight only to see Bradley 25-yard field goal attempt sail wide. Bradley missed on a second three-point attempt on the third play of the final quarter when he was wide left on a 48-yarder and Jones took over at its own 31 where Toney hit Deuce Coon with a 59-yard completion to the Wildcat six on second down before DeAnthony Pickens ran for five to the one, and Toney kept for the score. Toney threw to Pickens for the two-point conversion to make it 21-14 Jones with 10:27 left. Leonard Johnson of North Forrest High returned the ensuing kickoff 21 yards to his own 31 and it appeared Pearl River would go three and out when Ryan Knight of Sumrall High punted 52 yards only to see the Bobcat return man cough up the ball at the JCJC 13 and the Wildcats recover. Snoop Rollins, another NFHS recruit, caught a seven-yard pass on first down then Simon back-to-back carries went into the end zone. Bradley extra point tied it up at 21-21 with 6:54 left. The Bobcats managed to drive from their own 30 to the Wildcat 16 on their next series only to see Sobiesk kick wide on a 33-yard field goal attempt, while Pearl River answered by driving to the JCJC 41 on the next seven plays only to see a Jones defender intercept a batted German pass at his own 41. Sobiesk got a fourth chance to at a three in the final seconds of regulation, but he missed on a 30-yard attempt as time expired and things went into overtime. Pearl River got first dibs in the first OT only to see German throw incomplete on a fourth and one at the 16, then Jones drove to the three in three snaps only to see Justin Gaines fumble and Alton Bailey of Seffner, Fla., recover for PRCC and things headed into a second overtime. JCJC stayed exclusively on the ground on its next possession and ran to the three in five plays only to see Sobiesk fifth field goal attempt blocked on a fourth and three. Pearl River iced the win when Bradley booted a 39-yard field goal. Both teams finished with 20 first downs each and drew similar penalty yardage with PRCC getting flagged six time for 56 yards and JCJC four for 50. The Wildcats finished with 395 yards of total offense (77 rush on 32 carries, 318 pass) to the Bobcats 449 (92 rush on 31 carries, 357 pass). German completed 30 of 53 passes (56.6 percent) with three interceptions for all of Pearl River aerial yardage, while Toney was 22 of 42 (52.4 percent) with no picks for all of JCJC passing yards. Roberts paced Wildcats receivers with seven catches for 121 yards, while McNair had eight for 121, Simon seven for 58, Jhyryan Taylor of Franklinton, La., two for 16, Rollins four for 15, Marcquis Smith of Hattiesburg High one for four, and Jonathan Duncan of Oak Grove High one for two; while Coon led the Bobcats with seven catches for a game-high 160 yards. Pollard had four for 86 and Gaines three for 54 to lead Jones.Last Week Regular-Season Finales Last Thursday, 12th-ranked and playoff-bound Co-Lin (8-1, 5-1) smacked Northeast Mississippi (5-4, 4-2) 23-3 in Booneville in the week only intra-divisional match up, while in the South Division, Southwest Mississippi (4-5, 2-4) trimmed East Central (2-8, 2-4) 20-15 in Decatur. In the North, fourth-ranked division champ Northwest Mississippi (9-0, 6-0) kept its perfect record intact with a 31-14 victory over Itawamba (5-4, 4-2) in Senatobia and defending North and state champ East Mississippi (5-4, 4-2) copped a playoff berth with a 38-14 win over winless Holmes (0-9, 0-6) in Scooba. In other Saturday action, Coahoma (4-5, 2-4) dropped Mississippi Delta (1-8, 1-5) 35-14 in Clarksdale in a North Division match up.This Week Playoff Lineup This Saturday, North No. 1 Northwest Mississippi hosts South No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast in Senatobia; while South No. 1 Co-Lin hosts North No. 1 East Mississippi in Wesson (game times to be announced).

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