PRC pummels Natchez

Published 7:00 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

By Chris Marquette

Picayune Item

The Pearl River Central football team took care of business in their first round playoff matchup against Natchez, pummeling the Bulldogs 52-7.

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PRC dominated the clock on offense the entire game with long, deliberate drives down the field using their potent running game. On defense, the Blue Devils were impenetrable, giving up their first points with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter with most of the starters on the bench.

“I thought we just came out and did what we had to do and that’s what our kids are taught, to go out and do what they’re coached to do—I think we did exactly that tonight,” Head Coach Eric Collins said.

PRC got the ball to start the game. Four plays and 1:52 into the first quarter, junior running back Michael Tatman sprang loose for a 58-yard touchdown run to put the Blue Devils up 7-0—they never relinquished the lead.

On Natchez’s first drive of the game, senior linebacker David Salser dropped sophomore quarterback Chris Scott for a 4-yard sack. The sack would lead to a Bulldogs punt, and due to a block in the back penalty, PRC started their drive at their own 5-yard line.

Led by senior running backs Christian Roberts and Hunter Holifield, the Blue Devils marched 95 yards on 11 plays in a drive that spanned 5:43. Roberts bruised through a number of defenders for a 16-yard run to the PRC 45. A couple plays later, Holifield had a 34-yard run down to the 8-yard line which set up his 8-yard touchdown run with1:24 in the first quarter.

After another Natchez punt, the Devils got flagged for another block in the back, pinning them at their own 16. Holifield got free for a 52-yard scamper to set up junior quarterback Wyatt Davis’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Roberts putting the Blue Devils up 21-0 with 9:01 in the second quarter.

Natchez was forced to punt for a third straight time, and yet again a block in the back was called against the Blue Devils, starting them at their own 14.

PRC marched down field 86 yards on 10 plays and ate up 5:02 off the clock resulting in Holifiled’s second touchdown of the half—a 5-yard run making it 28-0.

The PRC defense got a stop and the offense got the ball at their own 48 with :35 to play in the half. Davis hooked up with Roberts for a 37-yard pass to set up a 27-yard field goal off the foot of senior kicker Dylan Bernius to put them up 31-0.

In the second half it got even sloppier for Natchez—they turned the ball over four times and PRC’s ground game couldn’t be stopped.

Natchez started off with the ball in the third quarter and Scott promptly fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by senior safety Dalton Howe. 

PRC scored another rushing touchdown thanks to a 14-yard touchdown by Roberts with 9:29 in the third quarter to put them up 38-0.

The Bulldogs fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, which was scooped up by Tatman. Davis threw to junior tight end Cade Lee for 27-yards to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by senior running back Austin Champagne with 7:12 in the third quarter to make it 45-0.

Senior cornerback Remi Reed picked off Scott on the Bulldogs’ next possession setting up sophomore running back Louis Reece for a 12-yard score with 11:53 in the fourth quarter to finish the Blue Devil onslaught at 52 points.

Senior cornerback Tristan Bailey picked off Scott for the Blue Devils fourth takeaway of the game.

There is a sense of focus and determination that was evident in the dying minutes of the game. When the game was clearly over, Davis was flagged for a delay of game penalty. Davis was visibly upset clapping his hands and signaling to Collins that it was on him. Coach John Feaster, the defensive coordinator, remained enthusiastic in coaching his defense when Natchez mounted their only scoring drive of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Davis said it is the team’s preparation that has made the team so successful.

“Hard work and preparation. We stay watching film. We just do the same things we do over and over and we do them right,” Davis said. “Our focus has gotta start now. Wayne County is a great team. They have all the athletes in the world, but we can compete with them. We feel like we can beat them.”