River falls to Gulf Coast

Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 26, 2008

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

POPLARVILLE – Last season Pearl River CC missed the state juco football playoffs for the first time in six years.

Thursday night, visiting Gulf Coast left the Wildcats struggling for their postseason life once again.

The 10th ranked Bulldogs used an impressive late scoring drive to grab a 10-3 win over 6th ranked PRCC before a standing room only crowd of over 6,000 at Dobie Holden Stadium.

The loss was the first of the year for the Wildcats, as they drop to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in South Division action. Pearl River must now go on the road next week and knock off unbeaten and fourth ranked Jones to keep, in all likelihood, alive their hopes of returning to the state playoffs.

Defending National Champion Gulf Coast, which had a 15 game winning streak snapped last week, moves to 4-1 overall but more importantly 2-0 in league play.

“I don’t know if they deserved to win, but we certainly didn’t,” veteran PRCC head coach Tim Hatten said. “You have to score points to win, and we didn’t. When you can hold Gulf Coast to 10 points you expect to win the game.”

Both teams were plagued with mistakes, missed opportunities and penalties most of the night, but the Bulldogs found one last gasp of offensive prowess to pull out the win and beat PRCC for the second straight season.

Quarterback Greg Jenkins guided the Bulldogs on a 75-yard, 17 play scoring march that took almost nine minutes off the clock and ended when Jenkins kept on a 1-yard sneak with 1:20 to play in the game.

“We didn’t do much on offense, but you have to give Pearl River a lot of the credit for that,” Gulf Coast head coach Steve Campbell said. “We fought and scrapped just enough at the end to win it. We did what we had to do.”

After Jenkins gave the Bulldogs what would prove to be the winning margin, PRCC quarterback Emil Jones quickly moved the Wildcats into Gulf Coast territory but the last gasp effort ended when the Bulldogs sacked Jones at mid-field as the final seconds ticked away.

“Our defense was the key all night,” Campbellsaid. “They were outstanding.”

The Wildcats missed three field goals in the game, and PRCC defensive back Frank Newsome also dropped a potential interception at the Gulf Coast 23 that almost surely would have resulted in a return for a touchdown.

The Wildcat defense did its part in holding the Bulldogs at bay for most of the game, as they caused three turnovers deep in PRCC territory.

The teams traded field goals in the first half, as Sean Brauchle hit a 47-yarder for Gulf Coast in the first period and Cory Carlsson made a 27-yarder for PRCC in the second quarter.

Jones completed 13 passes for 253 yards for the Wildcats in the loss, and Rashod Henry also rushed for over 100 yards for PRCC.

Jamal Young also cracked the 100 yard rushing mark in the winning effort for the Bulldogs.

“If we are worth anything like I think we are, we’ll live to fight another day,” Hatten concluded. “If we don’t then we don’t deserve it.”