• 72°

PRCC’s Wildcats smacked Holmes in Thursday’s matchup

Special to the  Item

POPLARVILLE — Heading in to Thursday night’s Pearl River versus Holmes MACJC non-division football battle here in wet, soggy Dobie Holden Stadium, head coach William Jones was somewhat concerned that his Wildcats would face defensive obstacles against the visiting Bulldogs’  triple option offensive attack.

But The River faired quite well, thank you, with a convincing 28-14 victory to improve to 2-0 on the year. HCC, on the other hand, evened its 2014 mark to 1-1.

The first quarter sped by quickly with PRCC going up 3-0 on its second possession of the night when Jovon Detto of Pearl River Central High booted a 35-yards field goal with 1:40 left in the period to cap a 10-play drive that started at its own 28.

On The River’s next possession, it appeared the Wildcats were going three and out, but punter Cody Mikell of Poplarville High saw Dre Massey fumble his return at his own 42 and PRCC recovered. Two 15-yard Holmes penalties pushed Pearl River from the 42 to the 24 where things bogged down and Detto arrived for his three.

On the Wildcats next possession one snap into the second quarter, quarterback Kaylon Cooper, an Independence CC (Kan.) transfer out of North Little Rock High (Ark.), engineered a 10-play, 74-yard scoring drive with Darrell Robinson out of Noxubee County High in Macon doing the capping honors from six yards out with 9:30 left before the half. The big play in the series was a 36-yard, first-down completion to Bryan Magee of West Marion High to push things inside the 10. Two snaps later, Robinson ran to pay dirt and Detto converted to make it 10-0.

Detto’s ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds and the Bulldogs cranked up at their own 35, managing to drive to the Wildcat 25 in nine plays — all on the ground — before quarterback Jamario Benson threw incomplete on his first pass of the game on a fourth and eight and PRCC took over.

Mikell shanked his punt for a meager 10 yards three plays later to the PRCC 39. Benson’s second pass of the contest came on first down to Massey good for a touchdown. Massey’s extra point kick made it 10-7 with 3:11 left before the intermission.

Pearl River converted a third and seven on its ensuing possession with a 20-yard completion from Cooper to Robinson, then Cooper immediately hit Devontea Watts with a 26-yarder to the Bulldog 19. Three straight Robinson running plays pushed tings to the 12 where Detto booted a 29-yard field goal with six seconds left to make it 13-7 to end the first-half scoring.

Detto had a 41-yard field goal blocked on The River’s first possession of the second half, while Holmes followed with a three and out. Massey’s 34-yard punt was hampered by a late hit penalty (15 yards) on the Bulldog punt to put the Wildcats in business at HCC 45. A play later, Cooper hit Magee with a 45-yard TD strike. Detto’s PAT made it 20-7 with 9:42 left in the third.

Three series later, Massey scored on an 82-yard touchdown run on the first snap of the Bulldog possession. Cole Ballard booted the PAT to make it 20-14 with 5:07left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats answered with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Cooper hit Magee with a 19-yard completion to convert a third and 14 to the River 40, then freshman Jerome Keys of Bassfield High had two runs for a combined 32 yards over the next three snaps to push things to the 28. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cooper was hammered with a late out-of-bounds hit, which drew an 18-yard flag on the Bulldogs to push things to the six where Cooper kept for five and Robinson capped the drive with a one-yard plunge with 12:50 left. Detto’s PAT ended the scoring to make it 28-14.

Holmes managed to drive to the Wildcat 16 in 12 plays on its final possession of the game, but Benson threw incomplete on a fourth and 11, while Pearl River answered with a 12-play drive to the Bulldog one as time expired.

The Wildcats finished the night with 16 first downs to the Bulldogs’ 11, while PRCC managed 340 yards of total offense (176 rush, 164 pass) to HCC’s 228 (179 rush, 49 pass).

Cooper was 10 of 19 through the air (no interceptions) for all The River’s aerial yardage, while Robinson rushed for a game and season-high 114 yards on 32 carries. Keys had 45 yards on seven attempts, while Massey led Holmes with 75 on seven.

Magee led all receivers in the contest with three catches for an even 100 yards.

Pearl River was flagged seven times for 45 yards, while Holmes saw six for 83.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE MACJC

In other Week 2 action  around the MACJC, reigning state and national champ and top-ranked East Mississippi hammered third-ranked Copiah-Lincoln 40-10 in Scooba, seventh-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast bombarded Northwest Mississippi 63-7 in Perkinston, Hinds smacked Northeast Mississippi 31-12 in Booneville, and East Central blasted Coahoma 35-7 in Clarksdale. Southwest Mississippi’s game with Mississippi Delta was postponed due to weather conditions in Summit with the home-standing Bears on top 14-0. Ninth-ranked Jones County tackles Itawamba, which received votes in last week’s Top 20 balloting, Saturday in Ellisville.

NEXT WEEK IN THE MACJC

Next week Thursday, six division openers are on tap. In the North, East Mississippi (2-0) visits winless Coahoma (0-2) in Clarksdale, Holmes (1-1) visits Itawamba in Fulton, and Northwest Mississippi (0-2) visits Northeast Mississippi (0-2) in a battle of the winless in Booneville. In the South, Pearl River (2-0) visits Hinds (1-1) in Raymond, Mississippi Gulf Coast (2-0) visits East Central (1-1) in Decatur, and Southwest Mississippi visits Jones County in Ellisville. The Mississippi Delta-Copiah-Lincoln (1-1) meeting in Wesson is the only intra-divisional match up of the week.