Winner of Saturday's Wolf-Wildcat battle takes No. 1 spot in division

POPLARVILLE – The winner of Saturday''s football between 12th-ranked Pearl River and 10th-ranked Copiah-Lincoln will hold sole possession of first place in the MACJC South Division.Both squads sport perfect 3-0 division marks heading into the 5 p.m. contest in Wesson, while the host Wolves boasts its impressive national ranking behind its unblemished 5-0 overall mark.The Wildcats, on the other hand, are 4-1 overall after last week''s 30-27 overtime victory over previously-No. 1-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast in Poplarville and enter the NJCAA''s Top 20 balloting for the first time in the regular season.PRCC was ranked No. 13 in 2010''s preseason poll, but fell out of the Top 20 after falling 27-17 to now-No. 7 and undefeated Northwest Mississippi in its season opener in Poplarville.Ninth-year Wildcat head coach Tim Hatten says he doesn''t expect a drop off in intensity by his squad.”As high as our emotions were last week''s Gulf Coast game, it would be easy to see a letdown going into this week,” Hatten said. “But that''s our (coaching staff) job to make sure that doesn''t happen. We''ve stressed all week that we''re going up against another undefeated and nationally-ranked team that would love nothing better than knocking off the team that just dethroned the nation''s No. 1.”Co-Lin is a very talented team with lots of playmakers. It''s going to take a superb effort on both sides of the ball, but if we play with the intensity we did in the second half of the Gulf Coast game, we should be okay.”The Wolves enter their Homecoming game off a hard-fought 27-24 division victory over Southwest Mississippi in Summit, but lost the services speedy running back Titus Mobley who likely suit up Saturday after suffering a second-half leg injury in the win over the Bears.”Mobley is a great running back, but his heir apparent is (Montrell) Conner (Mississippi State transfer) who''s a big (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), power-type guy,” Hatten added. “He did some damage to Southwest and we don''t expect him to show us any mercy.”Mobley is CLCC''s leading rusher, gaining 404 yards (80.8 per game average) on 87 carries through five weeks. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound sophomore from Groveland, Fla., gained 38 yards on 17 attempts versus the Bears. Conner ran for 101 yards on 18 carries against SMCC – all in the second half.Co-Lin opened its season back-to-back non-division home victories, defeating then 19th-ranked Coahoma with a 33-6 in Wesson before knocking off Holmes 28-9. The Wolves finally cracked the NJCAA poll at No. 16 after its 30-17 division-opening win over then-18th-ranked Hinds in Raymond to move up to 15th and followed with a 20-14 division win over Jones County in Wesson for a No. 14 ranking.A year ago, it was all about pride for then-20th-ranked PRCC as it targeted its division road bout with CLCC.The Wildcats had just dropped to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in division play after a turnover-plagued 27-10 home loss to Jones County and saw their post-season hopes practically dwindle to nothing via the setback. The end result in Wesson was a heartbreaking 42-25 loss to the Wolves, completely eliminating The River from any playoff contention.After five weeks, CLCC boasts the league''s top-ranked defensive unit, giving up an average of 243.2 yards a game (second-best 102.2 rush, third-best 141 pass); while PRCC is tied with Northwest Mississippi at seventh in the MACJC with a 326.6 per game average. Wildcat defenders have given up an average of 135.8 rushing yards a game (seventh in the league) and 190.6 passing (eighth).The Wildcats shined on the defensive side against Gulf Coast behind the efforts of linebacker Chris Bermond of Hancock County High, defensive end Daniel Hayden out of John Ehret High in New Orleans, and defensive back Marcus Jemison of Birmingham, Ala.Hayden finished the game with a team-high 17 tackles (nine solo, eight assists), including five tackles for losses, a caused fumble and a sack; while Jemison (15 solos, one assist, three TFLs) and Bermond (six solo, 10 assists, one sack, and a caused fumble) both totaled 16.But it''s Pearl River''s plus-nine turnover margin that has kept the Wildcats above water. The Wildcats are tied for first place in TO margin with NWCC, while Co-Lin boasts a second-best plus-five.Offensively, PRCC ranks sixth in the league with 357.4 yards a game; while its passing and rushing totals are as diverse as you can get – No. 1 in passing (289.4 yards a game) and dead last in rushing (68 yards). CLCC ranks ninth in total offense (336.6) with eighth-best 168.2 rush and 11th-best 168.4 pass.Wildcat quarterback Melvin German, a redshirt freshman from Fort Myers, Fla., leads the state and nation in passing offense, completing 131 of 193 throws (67.9 percent) with, incredibly, one interception. His aerial yardage total sits at 1,447 yards (289.4 per game average) and he has passed for 10 TDs and ran for six more.The Wildcat-Wolf RivalrySaturday''s South Division battle marks the 77th time the two schools have met on the gridiron in a rivalry that dates back to 1934 when the Wolves took a 12_0 shutout over the Wildcats. With the exception of 1936''s 7_7 and 1941''s 13_13 deadlocks, Pearl River wasn''t victorious over Co_Lin until 1946''s 32_7 win.Legendary PRCC head coach Dobie Holden led the Wildcats on a nine_year winning streak over the Wolves, starting in 1948 before Co-Lin snapped the string with a 20_14 victory in 1955, then won 14_13 in 1957. Pearl River pounded the Wolves 52_6 in 1961''s state and national championship season, then took a 50_14 lopsided win two years later in another state title year for the River. After 1964''s 42_0 shutout, the Wolves picked up a 15_7 and 21_19 victories in 1965 and 1966, respectively.John Russell succeeded Holden in 1967 and was 5_1_1 against the Wolves in his seven seasons at the Wildcat helm. Harvey Seligman was named interim head coach the 1974 season after Russell resigned during the preseason and recorded a 16_13 win over Co_Lin. J.C. Arban arrived on the scene in 1975 and reeled off a 6_5 mark in his 11 seasons with the Wildcats. Arban''s successor, Mike Nelson, was 1_3 against the Wolves, while Willie Coats followed with a 2_3 mark.Keith Daniels succeeded Coats in 1995 and was 2_3 in five years. He died of a brain hemorrhage five games into the 2000 season. The Wildcats took a lopsided 45-3 victory in 2005''s Hurricane Katrina-shortened season.In 2006, the Co-Lin stunned the then-top-ranked Wildcats with a 31-21 regular-season upset victory in Wesson, marking Hatten''s only defeat to Wolves in his storied career. CLCC went on to win the division title, but PRCC, which dropped to No. 9 following the regular-season setback, avenged that defeat with a thrilling 21-20 nailbiter over Co-Lin in the state championship game via a last-minute TD pass from Larry Freeman to Demetrius Byrd.That victory pushed the Wildcats to the No. 2 spot in the national poll and thus a berth in the NJCAA championship game against Blinn (Tex.) where PRCC lost 19-6 in the Pilgrim''s Pride Bowl in Mt. Pleasant, Tex.Pearl River has defeated Co-Lin in 2007 and 2008, taking a 14-2 and 21-16 decisions, respectively.The Wildcats lead the series with 41 wins and 33 losses (three ties). PRCC has won an unprecedented 19 state championships, while Co_Lin has won nine, including a string of six straight from 1929 through 1934 and back_to_back championships in 1937 and 1938. The Wolfpack won their last championship in 1985, while PRCC has won four straight titles (2003-2006); including an NJCAA national championship in 2004.Elsewhere Around The LeagueIn other South Division action around the MACJC last week, 14th-ranked and undefeated Copiah-Lincoln survived a scare from arch-rival Southwest Mississippi in Summit with a 27-24 victory; while in the North, Itawamba squeaked past winless Mississippi Delta 21-20 in Moorhead, defending North and state champion East Mississippi blew out Coahoma 49-14 in Clarksdale, and ninth-ranked Northwest Mississippi smacked Northeast Mississippi 26-6. In this weeks only inter-divisional match up, Jones County bombed Holmes 24-6 in Ellisville.Last Saturday, East Central celebrated its Homecoming in grand style as the Warriors upset Hinds 37-35 with a 41-yard field goal on the last play of the game.This Week In The MACJCFour Thursday games and three Saturday games set the stage for next week in the MACJC. In South Division Thursday games, Mississippi Gulf Coast (4-1, 2-1) hosts East Central (1-4- 1-1) in Perkinston; while in the North, East Mississippi (2-3, 2-1) hosts Northeast Mississippi (3-2, 2-1) in Scooba and Mississippi Delta (0-5, 0-2) hosts Holmes (0-5, 0-2) in a battle of the winless in Moorhead. North leader Northwest Mississippi (5-0, 2-0) hosts Southwest Mississippi (2-3, 0-3) in next week''s only inter-divisional contest.Another South battle set for Saturday includes Jones County (2-3, 0-2) hosting Hinds (3-2, 0-2) in Ellisville (Homecoming), while in the North, Itawamba (2-3, 1-1) hosts Coahoma (2-3, 1-2) for its Homecoming.Listen To The WildcatsAll Pearl River games are broadcast live on WFMM-FM (96.7) in Hattiesburg, WFFF-FM (96.7) in Columbia, WBOX-FM (92.9) and WBOX-AM (920) in Bogalusa, La.; 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''s broadcast is 4:30 p.m. You may also listen to the Wildcats over the internet by logging on to Click on the icon at the bottom left of the screen, and follow the instructions.n Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication, please con-tact Tonia Moody, ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator, at P.O. Box 5118, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060.

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