The quest for a true identity

Published 9:46 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pearl River Central has set the expectation of competing for a state championship despite losing 28 seniors from last season.

Pearl River Central has set the expectation of competing for a state championship despite losing 28 seniors from last season.

With the graduation of 28 seniors and an almost completely revamped coaching staff, the Blue Devils are on the hunt for their true identity. 

Head Coach Larry Dolan said even though the team is inexperienced, that doesn’t change the goal he has set.

“Our expectations every year is going to be winning a state championship. If that’s not the goal then we’re in it for the wrong reason,” Dolan said. “If you aim high and miss, you try again. If you aim high and hit, it’s a great thing.”

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With 12 seniors on this year’s team, Dolan expects to see a leader emerge in the upcoming weeks. He said that the first four games will allow the team to “find themselves” and to get ready for division play, which is around the time Dolan and the Blue Devils hope to be at their best.

Dolan’s first game coaching this year will be against a team he coached for 25 years, Forrest County Agricultural High School.

“It’s exciting to be going back and playing against my former team, but that’s just the beginning. I know Picayune and Poplarville are huge rivals of ours so we are going to be ready when those games come too. Our division is tough so we are going to have to grow up quick in order to compete,” Dolan said.

PRC’s focus for the next couple of weeks will be eliminating their flaws.

“Our offensive line has to gel in a hurry. I think they’re the heartbeat of any team. If your offensive line is good, then you can run the football. If you can run the football, then you can control the clock and that takes a lot of pressure off your defense,” Dolan said. “I know defense is important and it wins championships, but offensively if you can have a good O-line, you can make your defense even better.”

Some of the returning offensive talents on PRC are senior quarterback Wyatt Davis and senior running back Michael Tatman.

Davis averaged a quarterback rating of 108.4 while completing 48 passes with only two interceptions.

Tatman came off of a huge 2015-16 season, raking in 1,198 yards, averaging 92.2 YPG, rushing for 10 touchdowns and earning two offensive player of the game awards against Poplarville and Wayne County high schools. 

He also was named overall player of the game last season against Slidell.

On the other side of the ball, Dolan spoke highly of his defensive leader, Seth Orgeron. The outside linebacker is in his senior year and, so far, has not shied from the defensive leadership role.

“Seth is a great player. He can set the tone of our defense in any game, which is great to have,” Dolan said.

With only two returning starters on defense, Dolan is excited to see who will lead the team this season.