By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The Pearl River Central Blue Devils beat a the McComb Tigers 52-18 at Hendrix Memorial Stadium Friday night before a packed crowd in the first round of the playoffs, and will move into the second round of the state 5A playoffs next Friday, meeting Wayne County, who beat Moss Point Friday night 29-7. The Devils will have to travel to Wayne County.
The Devils gradually ground away at the Tigers, who ended their season with an 8-3 overall record, and a swarming Devil defense got the crucial shots against the McComb offense to keep them bottled up all night. The Devils are now 10-1 overall.
The Devil offense ground it out all night, rushing for 369 yards on 67 plays.
Runningback Steven Kubicki paced the Devils with 23 carries for 122 yards and three TDs, and so did runningback Garret Duplechain who had 12 carries for 170 yards rushing, and one TD. Duplechain also had a 71-yard touchdown jaunt called back on a holding penalty.
Desmond Michel had eight carries for 43 yards and a TD.
Quarterback Dylan Spiers was 3 for 3 for 29 yards, one a TD pass to Lane Fazende.
Said Spiers, “They came out hard. It was a pretty good game even though we outscored them pretty good. They were fast and caused us some trouble in the second half, when they opened up their passing game.”
“I really did not expect to beat them that bad, but the offensive line was clicking tonight,” said Spiers.
Said Devil head coach Eric Collins, “I knew their offense could be dynamite. They have a lot of good athletes. And they have a lot of speed and we had a tough time controlling that. I felt we hit an offensive tempo and they couldn’t slow us down.”
The Devils managed to get only one TD in the first period, which ended 7-6, Devils, but in the second quarter exploded for three TDs to carry a 28-6 lead into the half-time break.
The Tigers, led by 6-4, 230 lb. QB Alex Woodall, added two TDs in the third period, but could not maintain their momentum. The Devils picked up two TDs and a 40-yard field goal by Javon Detto, to close out the third period 45-18. Kubicki added one last TD with 47 seconds left in the game, to round out the scoring 52-18, PRC.
In the first quarter action, PRC scored on its first possession, putting together a 78-yard, 14-play drive that was capped by a two-yard plunge by Michel with 7:17 left in the first period.
McComb then, on their first possession mounted an 80-yard drive on seven plays, capped by a 43-yard TD toss to wingback Quatavious Smith from Woodall with four minutes left. Kicker Stephen Jeanson missed the PAT and it was 7-6, PRC. That was the closest McComb got to PRC all night.
On the Devils next possession Duplechain raced 71 yards down the sideline, but it was called back because of a holding penalty.
In the second period, PRC tacked on 21 unanswered points to carry a 28-6 lead into the half-time break.
Kubicki capped an 82-yard, 18-play drive on a 9-yard dash three minutes into second quarter action. Then with four minutes left to the half-time break Spiers hit Fazende for an 8-yard pass play for a TD.
PRC’s last score in the first half came on a 10-yard reverse to Brandon Padgett for a TD.
In the third period, with 7:50 left, Duplechain raced for a 57-yard dash to paydirt, and Kubicki got another TD on a 10-yard run. Kubicki got his third TD with 47 seconds left in the game.
The Tigers last two TDs in the third period came on a 14-yard pass from Woodall to Smith, and on a seven-yard pass play, also from Woodall to Smith.
Detto’s 40-yard field goal came with 23 seconds left in the third.