Submitted by braswell on October 25, 2010 – 12:58pm
POPLARVILLE Pearl River celebrated its Homecoming in grand style here Saturday in Dobie Holden Stadium, handing MACJC South Division rival Hinds a 37-19 defeat to keep its slim post-season playoff hopes alive. PRCC, now 5-3 overall and 4-1 in division play after the win, will be Hinds biggest rooters next week when the Eagles wrap up their regular season at home against Mississippi Gulf Coast…a contest that will dictate whether The River is in or out of the post-season tournament provided the Wildcats pull off a regular-season finale win at Jones County next Saturday. MGCCC, 6-2 overall after Coahoma 34-31 upset win in Clarksdale, also sports a 4-1 division mark with its only South loss coming from the hands of the Wildcats 30-27 overtime win Sept. 30 in Poplarville. Pearl River sole division loss was a 21-14 setback to Copiah-Lincoln (7-1, 5-1) Oct. 9 in Wesson. Co-Lin wrapped its division schedule Thursday with a 42-35 home victory over East Central to improve to 6-1. The Wolves only division loss was a 23-3 setback to Gulf Coast last week in Perkinston. Ninth-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten admits his team chances to make it into the post-season are slim. In this league, anything can happen, but youve got to be realistic about it, he said. Gulf Coast went up to Clarksdale and basically gave one away. That game meant nothing in the South Division race, but this time around (against Hinds), theyre playing for their lives and it hard to believe that they wont rise to the task. Hopefully, for our sake, they wont (rise to the task), Hatten continued. But weve still got unfinished business on our end…weve got to beat Jones next week or that whole playoff scenario is a moot. In this past Saturday game, the lead exchanged hands four times in the first half before Seth Roberts of Tallahassee, Fla., hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Melvin German of Fort Myers, Fla., late in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Travis Bradley extra point kick put Pearl River up 16-13 and the Wildcats never looked back. PRCC scored on the game opening possession. German hit Steve Simon of East Marion High with a 46-yard completion on the very first offensive snap, then found Leonard Johnson of North Forrest High two plays later with a 15-yard completion to the Hinds 36. After an Eagle holding penalty moved things to the 21, the Wildcat offense stalled and Bradley booted a 29-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 12:43 left in the opening quarter. Four punt exchanges later, Hinds took its first of two leads on the afternoon. Starting at their own 34, quarterback Anthony Sheppard hit Les Lemons with a 25-yard pass before Matthew Willis ran for 14 to the Wildcat 27 and followed with a 27-yard touchdown catch. Craig McRaney missed the point-after kick, but HCC led 6-3 with 2:01 left in the first period. But The River answered quickly. After Steve McNair, Jr., returned the ensuing kickoff to the Eagle 28, German hit Roberts with an eight-yard completion then zipped a pass to LSU-transfer Jhyryan Taylor of Franklinton, La., who rambled 64 yards to the end zone. The faked point-after attempt failed, but PRCC regained the lead at 9-6 with 1:22 left in the first. Then Hinds answered quickly. Starting at their own 32, Willis ran for nine on first down before Sheppard hit Lemons with a five-yard completion to the 46. Willis got the call again and ran the necessary 54 yards for the score. We must have missed eight or nine tackles on that one, said Hatten. Willis is too strong a runner…you cant arm tackle him. It was a great effort on his part. McRaney extra point put Hinds up 13-9 with 17 seconds left in the first period. Six series later, McNair returned McRaney 48-yard punt 11 yards to his own 49. German hit Jonathan Duncan of Petal High with back-to-back completions for a combined 31 yards to the Eagle 18 before Duncan was dropped for a minus-one on a third catch, but German found Roberts near the goal line on a third and 11 for the score with 4:20 left in the half. Bradley PAT made it 16-13. After Kyle Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards to his own 42, Hinds drove to the Wildcat 25 in seven plays, but McRaney was wide on a 42-yard field goal attempt and Pearl River took over. After German threw back-to-back incompletions, he kept for three and drew a 15-yard late-hit personal foul on the Eagles to push things to the 43. On the next play, German hit McNair with an impressive 57-yard catch-and-run scoring pass. Bradley extra point made it 23-13 with 1:09 left in the half. Two Hinds snaps later, the half ended. Seven plays into the opening possession of the second half, Sheppard was intercepted by nose tackle Alton Bailey of Seffner, Fla., who used his 6-foot-4, 330-pound frame to return his pick 26 yards to the Eagle 24. On first down, Snoop Rollins of North Forrest High threw a halfback pass to Taylor for the score and Bradley PAT made it 30-13 with 13:55 left in the third period. PRCC held HCC on a fourth and eight at the Wildcat 34 on the Eagles next possession and the Wildcats drove to the Eagle 30 in seven plays only to see German fumble and Hinds recover. The Eagles moved to the Wildcat 18 in seven plays before Sheppard was sacked for a minus-12 on a third and two and McRaney ensuing 47-yard field goal attempt was short. Hinds next possession started at its own 30 and Sheppard hit on three straight completions, resulting in the Eagles final score. Dylan Davis caught the first pass for 11, then Adam McWilliams snagged a 41-yarder to the 18 before Sheppard found Davis again for the TD. Chris Bermond of Hancock County High blocked McRaney extra point attempt, but things were 30-19 with 1:17 left in the third quarter. Johnson returned HCC ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the Eagle 41. A Hinds 15-yard personal foul penalty converted a second and eight, before German hit Roberts for 26 yards on a third and 13 to the one where German snuck it in for the score. Bradley extra point made it 36-19 with 14:32 left in the game. Hinds next two possession were KOed via turnovers the first on a fumble recovery by Darrion Gabrieal of Sumrall High at the Pearl River 36 and the second on a pass interception by Cornell Hill of Baton Rouge, La., at the PRCC 30. Pearl River finished the game with 338 yards of total offense (two rush, 336 pass), while Hinds bested that mark with 428 yards (176 rush, 252 pass). Willis led all rushers in the contest with 117 yards (115 in the first half) on 20 carries, while Sheppard had 52 yards on 15 keepers. Lemons had seven catches for 79 yards, Davis eight for 77, McWilliams two for 46, Willis three for 28, while Cordell Valentine and Syndelvin Ward both had 11-yard solo catches. For PRCC, Taylor had two receptions for 88 yards, McNair four for 62, Simon three for 58, Roberts three for 53, Duncan five for 43, Rollins three for 24, and Johnson two for eight. The Wildcats were penalized eight times for 63 yards to the Eagles 12 for 127, while Pearl River had 22 first downs to Hinds 17.Other Week Eight Action In The MACJC In the North Division on Thursday, East Mississippi defeated Mississippi Delta 42-27 in Moorhead, undefeated Northwest Mississippi bombed winless Holmes 38-13 in Goodman, and Itawamba trimmed Northeast Mississippi 20-17 in Fulton. In the South, Co-Lin rallied late to drop East Central 42-35 in Wesson, while Coahoma nipped Mississippi Gulf Coast 34-31 in Clarksdale in the week only intra-divisional match up. In other Saturday action, Southwest Mississippi squeaked past Jones County 14-13 in Summit.This Week Regular-Season FinalesThis wraps the 2010 regular season with four Thursday and three Saturday match ups. East Central (2-6, 2-3) hosts Southwest Mississippi (3-5, 1-4) in Decatur in the South Division only Thursday contest, while in the North, defending state champ East Mississippi (4-4, 3-2) hosts Holmes (0-8, 0-5) in Scooba and undefeated Northwest Mississippi (8-0, 5-0) hosts Itawamba (5-3, 4-1) in Senatobia. Co-Lin (7-1, 5-1) hosts Northeast Mississippi (5-3, 4-2) in the week only intra-divisional game. On Saturday in the South, Hinds (5-3, 2-3) hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast (6-2, 4-1) in Raymond and Jones County (2-6, 0-5) hosts Pearl River in Ellisville, while in the North, Coahoma (3-5, 1-4) hosts Mississippi Delta (1-7, 1-4) in Clarksdale.