PRCC earns No. 14 ranking ahead of battle with No. 4 Northwest

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

POPLARVILLE, Miss.  — Last Thursday the Pearl River football team proved that it can win pretty or it can win ugly, defeating Northeast 20-13 to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2014.

The Wildcats were rewarded for their unblemished start Monday, climbing into the NJCAA rankings at No. 14. Monday’s good news marks the first time since ’14 that the ‘Cats were ranked.

“We’ve known that this was the vision, but we’ve just had to be patient,” Pearl River coach Seth Smith said. “These kids have persevered, and our coaches have persevered. It’s rewarding. There are still 1,000 things that we need to get better at, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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The Wildcats will need a complete team effort Thursday as reigning MACCC Champion and No. 4 Northwest comes to Dobie Holden Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“The first week we went out and had over 500 yards of total offense, which was a pretty win,” Smith said. “Last week, we only had 250 yards of offense but played good defense. You have the potential to be a great team when you can win pretty, or you can win ugly. If we can win with offense or defense, then you have a great balance on your team. That’s what we’ve been hoping to accomplish here all along.”

The Wildcats performed incredibly on defense last week, holding Northeast to just 204 yards in the game. PRCC held the Tigers quarterback to a completion percentage of 35.4 while holding the team’s rushing attack to just 63 yards.

“It was a total team effort on defense last week,” Smith said. “The defensive line got the pressure, the secondary covered great and the linebackers tackled outstanding. Coach (Lorenzo) Breland, Coach (Ty) Trahan, and Coach (Ta’Ron) Sims deserve a lot of credit. They have worked hard with those guys all year long.”


Northwest went on the road a week ago to defeat then No. 14 Hinds 31-28. A season ago, NWCC won the MACCC Championship and earned a berth in the NJCAA National playoffs.

“I’m not just saying this, they are truly good at everything,” Smith said. “That’s why they are the No. 4 team in the country. They’re well-coached. They don’t do anything to hurt themselves offensively, so we have to play sound defense. Defensively, they have good players who line up right and tackle well. They really don’t have a weakness.

“It’s going to take an extreme team effort.”

The Rangers are led at the quarterback position by sophomore Ren Hefley. Through the air, he is 32-for-52 for 439 yards and two touchdowns.

Jamarien Bracey leads the team in rushing, carrying the ball 45 times for 203 yards and two scores.

Sam Brumfield leads NWCC in tackles with 20. He has also tallied 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Jykeveous Hibbler has been a force along the defensive line so far this season. He has 6.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries through the first two games.

Smith is excited about getting a chance to host the No. 4 team in the country after hitting the road last week.

“I told someone last week that it felt like we were playing in Gatlinburg, (Tenn.),” he said. “It seemed like we were on the road forever. I’m happy that the game is here because our kids have worked really hard to get to this point. They haven’t been able to be part of a game like this one Thursday. Both teams are 2-0 and they’re the No. 4 team in the country.

“I think the atmosphere at Dobie Holden will be phenomenal.”


Through two games, Lawson Pratt (Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy) has completed 36 of 51 passes for a 70.6 completion percentage. He’s racked up 281 yards and three touchdowns.

Qavonte Swanigan (Foxworth; West Marion) leads PRCC in rushing in the early going, carrying the ball 20 times for 162 yards. Nick Milsap (Raleigh; Oak Grove) trails him narrowly with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

Chirstopher Holifield Jr. (Mobile, Ala.; Leflore) has caught 12 passes for 85 yards.

Justin Jefferson (Memphis, Tenn.; Barlett) leads the Wildcats in tackles with 18. He also has 1.5 TFLs, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass breakup. Eli Hackbarth has tallied 11 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and one forced fumble on the year.

Bryan Whitehead II is fresh off a remarkable game against Northeast. In the contest, he tallied five tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown. On the season, he is tied for second on the team in tackles with 11 and has four TFLs.


The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Rangers 26-13. The teams last met in the 2017 season when the Rangers won 34-21.


The Wildcats livestream all games for free at Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app. stores.

Games will also be available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320 AM and 106.9 FM., in Columbia on WCJU 102.7 FM and 1450 AM, and in Hattiesburg on WHSY 105.9 FM and 950 AM. The radio broadcast is also available at and by downloading the WRJW app.


Advance single-game tickets for football are $8, or $11 at the box office. Single-game chairback seats are $20 and will go on sale at 8 a.m. Aug. 31.

All-sport passes are available for $123. The passes include general admission to all PRCC regular season competitions.


To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).