Banner year for PRC

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

By Chris Marquette

CARRIERE — The Blue Devil football team had a record year. They won Region 4-5A for the first time in 20 years, beat rival Picayune in for the first time in 20 years and didn’t lose a game in district play—they went 7-0 and compiled an 11-2 overall record, losing to eventual 5A State Champions Wayne County in the second round of the playoffs.

With Pearl River Central’s success, it is easy to see why their staff and players earned so many honors. 

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Head Coach Eric Collins was selected as the Coach of the Year and his team’s record speaks for itself. Collins did not speak about his accomplishment, but expressed how much pride he had in seeing his players honored.

“It makes me extremely proud as a coach. I’m proud of every single one of these guys because I know how hard they’ve worked over the years. To be honored for their hard work and to accomplish the goals and the things they’ve worked hard for is rewarding for a coach,” Collins said.

Linebacker David Salser was tabbed as the Player of the Year—the best overall player in the region. Salser had 181 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, five quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries, two sacks and two interceptions in 13 games.

“It’s awesome. We achieved something pretty great and to be just mentioned by it is an honor,” Salser said.

Running back Christian Roberts was selected as the Offensive Player of the year. Roberts rushed for 1,420 yards on 249 carries and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry, and 109.2 yards a game. Roberts also posed a threat catching the football; he had nine receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s just good to see that all of our hard work has paid off. All the hard work we did in the offseason, during the season practice everyday, going through all the drills, it’s just good to see it all pay off,” Roberts said.

The All-MVP Region Offense team included five PRC players: offensive linemen Sam Lefebvre and Ryan Kennedy, running back Hunter Holifield, wide receiver Austin Champagne and tight end Cade Lee.

The All-MVP Region Defense team featured five Blue Devils as well: defensive linemen Josh Neumann and Drake Whitfield, linebacker Steve Gallodoro, defensive back A.J. Banks and safety Dalton Howe.

First Team All-Region also was well represented with eight PRC players: Mason Haywood, Cody Spiers, Remi Reed, Matt Spence, Dylan Bernius, Michael Tatman, Logan Lisenbea and Nick Bisesi.

Champagne said the honor means a lot to him because he can share it with his teammates.

“I’m real excited for all of my friends and my brothers to get it with me as well,” Champagne said.

Coach Collins said all the honors and wins are a testament to the work ethic and focus of his guys.

“When these guys come in and they’re young, it’s hard for them to look into the future and trust the coaches and what they’re doing,” Collins said. 

“Like sometimes we go out to practice or the weight room and the players are like ‘man, these guys (coaches) are crazy, why are we doing all this running and lifting?’ but to their credit, they bought in to what we were trying to accomplish and believed in what we were doing and then to see it end like this for them is a great honor.”