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PRC wins jamboree game, prepares for start of the season

The Pearl River Central Blue Devils football team got its first taste of competitive action when it took on the Bay High Tigers in a jamboree game Aug. 28 and won 20-0.

The jamboree doesn’t count towards the Blue Devils’ overall record, but instead serves as a way to get the athletes back into a competitive environment before the season truly begins.

The shutout win is a positive sign and Head Coach Jacob Owen said there were several positives to take away from his team’s performance against Bay High.

“I thought we played with a lot of intensity and effort. (However), there were some details within our defense and offense we have to clean up,” Owen said.

Owen said offensively pre-snap penalties need to be minimized, and that ball security needs to be improved based on the Blue Devils having two fumbles against the Tigers.

Defensively, the improvement needed to be seen in the secondary and making receivers’ lives more difficult once the ball is snapped.

Owen said the excitement was palpable amongst the athletes and staff as they were finally able to play football again after the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They were like a 5-year-old on Christmas day. I think we all were. Everybody was so excited to be playing football I didn’t see any nerves. They just looked like a group of guys fired up to play a football game,” Owen said.

There were protocols in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 the Blue Devils followed.

Owen said they limited the number of athletes they had on the sideline to ensure social distancing, and that players and coaches had their gaiter face coverings up while on the sideline.

There were even changes made to water breaks as the Blue Devils looked to follow all of the Mississippi High School Athletic Association’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“For water breaks everybody had their own individual water bottle. There’s a lot of thought and extras that goes into it with the restrictions, but we’re happy to do it as long as we can play,” Owen said.

Now the Blue Devils will turn their focus to their first competitive game of the season, which will take place Sept. 4 at the home of the Sumrall Bobcats.

Owen said in preparation for the game his athletes will make sure to look inward, and hone in on what each of them needs to improve upon before the Friday night matchup.

“We want to be 1-0. This one counts and we’ll just focus on us, the fundamentals and doing what we do. We’ll keep it simple, play our guts out and see what happens,” Owen said.

The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.