Published 5:07 am Monday, November 3, 2008
By CURTIS ROCKWELL
Item Sports Editor
SCOOBA, Miss. – After a one year break, Pearl River CC finds itself back in an old familiar setting on the football field.
The Wildcats out-gunned homestanding East Mississippi 42-35 in the opening round of the state juco playoffs Saturday afternoon at Sullivan-Windham Stadium, and will now meet arch-rival Gulf Coast for the state championship Saturday in Perkinston. It will mark the fifth time in the past six seasons that head coach Tim Hatten’s crew has played in the state title tilt.
Ike Bowden, who played at Poplarville High, and Rashod Henry each scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for PRCC while Emil Jones hooked up with Ray Chisolm on two scoring strikes and the same combination also tallied a two point conversion in the win.
PRCC moved to 8-2 with the win and East Mississippi, which is coached by former Wildcat assistant coach Buddy Stephens, ends its season at 8-2 as well.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the second quarter and then withstood a furious charge by the scrappy Lions in the second half.
It marked the second straight week that the usually stout PRCC defense gave up more than 34 points.
Bowden and Henry, sharing time in the backfield, got PRCC rolling early as each registered a scoring run in the first quarter.
Bowden gave the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish with a 2-yard touchdown run on PRCC’s opening drive.
Henry then made it 14-0 late in the period with a 5-yard scoring burst.
The Wildcats extended their lead as the second stanza unfolded, as Henry added a 10-yard scoring scamper and Jones hit Chisolm on a 22-yard touchdown toss.
The Lions, though, stayed close thanks to quarterback Randall Mackie who threw one scoring pass and ran for another in the first half and kept EMCC withing striking distance at 28-14 at halftime.
After a fairly quiet third frame that saw only a 23-yard scoring pass from Mackie to Wayne Bonner, the final quarter turned into a shootout.
Jones hit Chisolm on a 12 yard touchdown pass with 13:03 to play, putting PRCC up 34-21.
The Lions, though, came back on Mackie’s third scoring pass of the game, this one to Marquez Mosely from 17 yards, to cut the deficit to 34-28 with 10:23 to play.
Bowden and the Wildcats answered though, as a time consuming drive took six minutes off the clock and he scored on a 3-yard run to make it 42-28 with 3:54 to play.
Mackie and the Lions had one last gasp, however, as he hit Mike Outlaw on a touchdown pass with 2:50 left in the game making it 42-35.
The Lions managed to recover the ensuing on-sides kick, but on the first play PRCC’s Johnny Dixon picked Mackie off at mid-field to seal the win.
The game marked the first time in 10 years PRCC had played at East Mississippi.
Gulf Coast, meanwhile, beat visiting Northwest CC 45-6 Saturday in the other playoff semifinal, setting up the state championship game.
The Bulldogs beat the Wildcats 10-3 earlier this season in Poplarville. It will also be a rematch of the 2005 state championship game, a game that also took place in Perkinston and which the Wildcats won after the Bulldogs had also won the regular season meeting.