River opens South Division schedule Thursday at home against Southwest Miss.

POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College opens its 2010 MACJC South Division football schedule Thursday when the Wildcats play host to the Southwest Mississippi Bears in their home opener here in Dobie Holden Stadium. A 7 p.m. kickoff is set. The Wildcats enter the game of the year off an impressive 34-8 victory over still-winless non-division foe Itawamba after opening their season with a 56-55 overtime loss to now-sixth-ranked Northwest Mississippi in Senatobia. The Bears, on the other hand, opened their year with a narrow 24-21 double-OT decision over Holmes in Summit, but followed with a 32-9 thrashing from the hands of Northeast Mississippi in Booneville. Tenth-year PRCC head coach Tim Hatten says SMCC will be out for redemption. They (Southwest) gave us all we could handle last year over at their place,, Hatten said. We spotted them 14 points in the first quarter before we could get on track. Fortunately, we rallied back for a win (35-21). Theyre always tough and it going to take our A game on both sides of the ball to be successful. SMCC head coach Charles Anthony Bears are youthful, to say the least, sporting a 55-man roster comprised of a mere 15 sophomores and 40 freshmen. But his young club blew it open in its season opener versus Holmes with an impressive 390-yard total offense, including 376 on the ground. Northeast Tigers stymied the SMCC last week, however, limiting the Bears to a mere 86 yards of total offense (70 rush, 16 pass). Southwest standout quarterback Vintavious Cooper was limited to a mere 25 yards on the ground and the sophomore was only three of 14 for nine yards via the air. SMCC finished the night four of 16 passing with three interceptions. That doesnt mean a thing. Southwest showed what they can do on the offensive side in their first game. Cooper gave us fits last year, Hatten explained, noting the sophomore from Homerville, Ga., ran for 239 yards on 35 carries and scored two TDs in the Bears season opener. After rolling to an incredible 631 yards of total offense (533 pass, 98 rush) against Northwest in the opener, The River accumulated 476 yards last week against ICC including an uncharacteristic, yet impressive, 210 on the ground. All-American quarterback Melvin German passed for 496 yards and six touchdowns at Northwest; before answering that feat with a 266-yard passing performance and a team-high, 81-yard individual rushing total against Itawamba. The sophomore from Ft. Myers, Fla., also ran for three scores versus the Indians.The Wildcat-Bear rivalry This week game marks the 70th meeting between the two schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1932 when the Wildcats took a 20-7 victory. Pearl River holds a 53-13-3 win-loss-tie advantage over Southwest. After the inaugural game, the two teams didnt resume playing until 1937 when PRCC won 27-20. Even though the Bears battled the Wildcats to 0-0, 6-6, and 7-7 deadlocks in 1939, 1950, and 1955, respectively, it wasnt until 1958 that Southwest won 26-6 to take its first victory over PRCC. In 2000, Pearl River clipped the nationally-ranked Bears with a 20-17 upset victory just days after then-Wildcat head coach Keith Daniels died of a brain hemorrhage. Most football experts were stumped as to how the Wildcats would handle the situation, but what resulted was an emotional win when currently PRCC head soccer coach Jack Byrd, a Picayune High recruit who went on to star at Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) University, booted a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. The Bears had won three straight over the Wildcats prior that year victory. Southwest finished its 2000 campaign at 9-3 overall under former head coach Ken Edenfield after losing to Hinds 27-17 in the state championship game. The Bears 4-2 division mark that season propelled them into the postseason playoffs and a 46-14 first-round victory over Itawamba. In 2001, Green, Edenfield offensive line coach, took over the head coaching duties before relinquishing the job to current head coach Charles Anthony in 2006. PRCC defeated Southwest 36-9 in Poplarville in 2002, then the Wildcats took a 14-6 road victory in 2003, a 38-0 shutout in 2004''s national championship season, a 40-7 blowout in 2005, and a 31-0 shutout in 2006''s Homecoming game. In 2007, Bear DB Myrio Cotton returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown with less than five minutes left to give Southwest a 24-17 division victory in Summit. In addition, SMCC Roteddrick Cotton returned the game opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. In 2008, Pearl River won a 50-20 blowout in Summit and took a lopsided 43-7 victory in 2009 Homecoming game in Poplarville.Elsewhere Around The MACJC In other Thursday night action (all non-division games), Copiah-Lincoln pounded Holmes 47-14 in Goodman, sixth-ranked Northwest Mississippi bombed East Central 42-19 in Decatur, ninth-ranked East Mississippi trimmed Hinds 20-17 in Raymond, 12th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast dropped Mississippi Delta 31-14 in Moorhead, and Jones County smashed Coahoma 46-20 in Ellisville.Next Week In The MACJC All but two schools in the MACJC open their respective division schedules this Thursday. Winless Itawamba (0-2) plays host to winless East Central (0-2) in Fulton for the only non-division game of the week. In the North Division, Holmes (0-2) hosts Coahoma (0-2) in Goodman, Northwest Mississippi (2-0) hosts East Mississippi (2-0) in Senatobia, and Mississippi Delta (0-2) hosts Northeast Mississippi (2-0) in Moorhead. Elsewhere in the South, Copiah-Lincoln (2-0) hosts Hinds (1-1) in Wesson, and Mississippi Gulf Coast (1-1) hosts Jones County (2-0) in Perkinston.Wildcats Over The Airwaves 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 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.