Get your popcorn ready, PRC at Picayune

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

District Champions Pearl River Central High School (9-1, 6-0) head to Picayune (5-5, 4-2) to take on the Maroon Tide for a battle between two long-standing rivals.

Although PRC has already captured the district, this game is both teams’ final regular season game and could provide serious momentum going forward into the postseason, in addition to the pride of beating the cross-county rival. 

PRC has not beaten Picayune since the mid 1990s, but both teams have a huge amount of respect for each other.

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“These kids live so close together and they see each other all the time. This PRC team is outstanding; they give great effort and never take plays off. I watched six films of them and they didn’t turn it over once. I attribute that to their coaching and their character,” Tide Head Coach Dodd Lee said. “I know for a fact they gotta be proud of those kids; they had that catastrophe and they rallied. I’m proud of them. They are a united team—nobody is jealous.”

Pearl River Central Head Coach Eric Collins believes there are a number of similarities between his squad and the Tide’s.

“Their team is similar to ours in that they are a well coached, hard nosed and a physical football team. Historically, it’s always been a real physical and fast paced football game,” Collins said.

PRC is assured a home playoff game, but Collins doesn’t have to worry about his team resting on their laurels going into Friday’s game.

“One thing that has helped us is that we’re playing Picayune. Sometimes you worry about a let down after winning district, but our kids are focused. Our kids play with a lot of confidence and I fully expect them to go out and play well,” he said.

Picayune lost to Pascagoula 12-7 with a limited Josh Littles (210 carries for 1,508 yards on the year) are uncertain if they will be with their junior running back who leads the team in rushing. He is day-to-day with turf toe.  

The Blue Devils had a huge four touchdown performance by senior running back Christian Roberts last week at Hattiesburg. On the season he has 196 carries for 1,147 yards.

PRC’s defense has been a huge part of the team’s success. Senior linebacker David Salser had 13 tackles and one interception in PRC’s district-clinching win against Hattiesburg. He is fourth in the area with 130 total tackles.

“Becoming a leader for David has been a journey for him. I can’t say how proud I am of the leader he has become. The growth and the maturity in him has become phenomenal. He is a big leader for us on defense and his demeanor on the sideline has been really good for us, but he talks with his play and him being our leading tackler—that’s important,” Collins said. 

“I can’t say enough about how well our defense has played. We get a lot of turnovers and bring a lot of guys to the ball. That’s a tribute to the defensive staff led by defensive coordinator John Feaster.” 

Look for the Blue Devils stout defense combined with the three-pronged running attack of Roberts, senior Hunter Holifield (117 carries for 1,021 yards) and junior Michael Tatman (133 carries for 859 yards) to be too much to handle for the Tide.