River tackles No. 12 Eagles Saturday

POPLARVILLE The situation is a simple one for the Pearl River Wildcats: win out and make the MACJC post-season football playoffs. Lose just one and it all over but the crying. And it all cranks up Saturday when PRCC treks to Raymond to tackle the No. 12-ranked Hinds Eagles, undefeated in South Division play at 4-0, in a critical match up at 1 p.m. It not rocket science, said 10th-year Wildcat head coach Tim Hatten. Win out and were in. Another loss and were out (of the playoff race). The River, now 4-3 overall, must defeat HCC and Jones County in its Oct. 27 regular-season finale to make the post-season cut. The Wildcats were throttled last Saturday 41-17 by third-ranked East Mississippi in a non-division contest despite PRCC out-gaining the still-undefeated Lions (7-0) offensively with 439 yards of total offense (23 rush, 416 pass) to 386 (126 rush, 260 pass). Hatten question post-game was to the point. How does a team put up nearly 450 yards of offense and come away with only 17 points? Well, dropping 15 passes tells the tale, he explained. They (East Miss) finished drives with touchdowns. We didnt when it counted. The Lions tallied TDs on four of their six possessions in the first half to take a commanding 27-7 lead at the break, then padded its lead with two more scores in the third quarter. The Wildcats, on the other hand, answered EMCC first TD on their second possession of the game to go up 7-6 late in the first period, but didnt reach the end zone again until late in the third quarter. We cant do that this go around, Hatten added. Hinds is a very good football team that very well coached. Theyve only lost one and that was by three (20-17) the same bunch (East Mississippi) that handed it to us last weekend. And theyve got one of the very best secondaries in the league, which is going to be a huge challenge for us on the offensive side. All-American quarterback Melvin German out of Dunbar High in Fort Myers, Fla., connected on a school record 42 of 67 passes for all of the Wildcats aerial yardage against EMCC, but tossed an uncharacteristic four interceptions. His 42 completion mark eclipsed his personal record of 41 set a year ago also against East Mississippi. German 67 pass attempts ranks second-highest in PRCC history. Hinds, 4-0 in the South Division, opened its season with a lopsided 44-24 non-division home win over Itawamba before suffering its setback to the Lions in Raymond. Since, the Eagles have reeled off five straight victories, including a 38-0 shutout Co-Lin in their division opener in Wesson, a 48-17 non-division win over still-winless Mississippi Delta at Moorhead, a 31-19 division Homecoming win over East Central, a 34-7 win over Jones County at home, and last week 28-20 division victory over Southwest Mississippi in Summit. Pearl River, 3-1 in division play, opened its season with a 56-55 overtime non-division loss to the-ninth-ranked Northwest Mississippi in Senatobia before bouncing back with a 34-8 non-division win over Itawamba in Fulton. The Wildcats then trimmed Southwest 27-20 in the home and division opener and downed division foe East Central 31-13 in Decatur before ninth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast took a 17-10 victory in Perkinston. PRCC rebounded with a 26-5 division win over Co-Lin before last week Homecoming debacle in Poplarville. PRCC 457.9 yards a game (second-best 362.3 pass, dead last 95.6 rush) is second in the league in total offense to Hinds fourth-best 390.4 yards (fifth-best 207.6 pass, third-best 182.9 rush). On the defensive side, the Eagles and Wildcats rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in total defense. HCC gives up an average of 300.9 yards a game (third-best 153.4 pass, 12th-best 147.4 rush), while PRCC averages 309.2 (seventh-best 182.9 pass, eighth-best 126.3 rush). Following this week match up, the Wildcats wrap their regular season against Jones County Oct. 27 in Poplarville, while the Eagles play Gulf Coast in Perkinston in their finale. The MACJC South Division standings through seven games include Gulf Coast (5-0), Hinds (4-0) Pearl River (3-1), Co-Lin (1-4), Southwest and Jones (both 1-3) and East Central (0-4). The North standings include East Mississippi (4-0), Northeast (4-1), Itawamba (3-1), Holmes and Northwest (both 2-2), Mississippi Delta (0-4), and Coahoma (0-5).The Pearl River_Hinds Series Saturday match up marks the 71st time the two football powers have locked horns on the gridiron with the Wildcats leading the series with 38 wins, 31 losses, and two ties. Pearl River has won its last nine match ups with the Eagles, including a 21_13 victory for the 2004 state title, 2005''s 48-26 blowout in Poplarville that marked a record 21 straight wins, 2006''s 36-7 pasting in Raymond, 2007''s season-ending 39-31 triple-OT win at home, 2008''s 27-10 road win, 2009''s 45-3 splattering at home, and last year 37-19 Homecoming victory. PRCC trimmed Hinds 37_30 on the road in 2004 regular_season battle, marking the first of only two losses for the Eagles that year. In 2003, the Wildcats bopped the Eagles 21_17 for its first MACJC title since 1976, but fell 31_27 in their regular_season battle on a controversial, last_minute 90_plus_yard kick off return in Poplarville. Pearl River took a 25_22 OT victory in 2001, marking the first time the Wildcats had beaten the Eagles since the 1992 season (a 21_16 win). PRCC followed with a 31_22 victory in Raymond in 2002. Prior 2001''s OT thriller, Hinds had reeled off eight straight wins over The River, while grabbing five of its 13 state championships. The Eagles have won six state titles in the last 14 seasons. Pearl River took a 53_0 victory in the inaugural meeting, then the series didnt resume until 1941 with Hinds taking an 18_0 shutout, followed by a 30_18 victory in shortened 1942 season due to World War II. Junior college football all over the state resumed in 1944 and the Eagles reeled off six straight wins over PRCC before the Wildcats answered with a lopsided 27_6 victory in 1950 in coach legend Dobie Holden fifth season in Poplarville. The two teams split the ensuing two years, then, in 1953, the rivalry saw its first of two ties (14_14) in the series. The Wildcats and Eagles finished that season as co_champions in the MACJC. After Hinds took a hard_fought 35_32 win in 1957, the Wildcats won four straight, including a 42_0 shutout in 1959 and a 44_6 lopside in 1961. Pearl River took state titles both of those seasons, including its only national championship in 1961. Holden retired following the 1966 season, giving up the reins to assistant John Russell who was perfect against the Eagles in his seven years at the Wildcat helm. Hinds scored only 63 points in seven games against Russell squads. Russell resigned prior to the 1974 season and assistant coach Harvey Seligman was elevated to head coach. Seligman unit fell 17_13 to Hinds. J.C. Arban took over the Wildcat program in 1975 and the former PRCC and Southern Mississippi offensive coordinator won five straight over the Eagles until Hinds took a 28_5 victory in 1980. In all, Arban was 7_4 against Hinds, but his last three losses all in succession were by a combined total of only 14 points. Mike Nelson succeeded Arban in 1986 and was 1-2-1 versus the Eagles until his departure in 1989, while Willie Coats was 2-3 from 1990 to 1994. The late Keith Daniels was winless at 0-6 from 1995 until midway into the 2000 season when he died of a brain hemorrhage five weeks into the 2000 season. Scott Maxfield pulled off the 2001 overtime victory in his only season at the Wildcat helm in 2001.Last Week In The MACJC In Thursday night action (all in the North Division), 16th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (6-1, 4-1) smacked winless Coahoma (0-7, 0-5) 29-13 in Clarksdale, Northwest Mississippi (4-3, 2-2) blasted winless Mississippi Delta (0-7, 0-4) 37-0 in Moorhead, and Itawamba (3-4, 3-1) bombed Holmes (2-5, 2-2) in Goodman. In other Saturday action (all Homecoming games in the South Division), ninth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (6-1, 5-0) dropped Copiah-Lincoln (3-4, 1-4) 34-14 in Wesson, 12th-ranked Hinds (6-1, 5-0) slipped past Southwest Mississippi (3-4, 1-3) in Summit, and Jones County (4-3, 1-3) dropped East Central (1-6, 0-4) in Ellisville.This Week In The MACJC Next Thursday in the MACJC South, East Cental hosts Co-Lin in Decatur and Jones hosts Southwest in Ellisville, while in the North, Northeast hosts Itawamba in Booneville. One South Division game is set for Saturday when Hinds hosts Pearl River in Raymond, while in the North, East Mississippi hosts Mississippi Delta for its Homecoming in Scooba and Northwest hosts Holmes in Senatobia. Also on Saturday, Gulf Coast hosts Coahoma for its Homecoming in Perkinston in the only intra-divisional match up of the week.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. Airtime for Thursday PRCC-Hinds broadcast is 6:30 p.m. You may also listen to the Wildcats over the internet by logging on to

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