Bears anxious to play winning football against Pearl River for Homecoming

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022

Coming off of a tough loss is never easy for any ball club as they have to quickly put it behind them and focus on the next opponent.

For Southwest, however, their preparation time is a little bit longer this week as it is Homecoming and they will not take the field until Saturday as they host the Pearl River Wildcats.

“I think that the guys are ready to roll,” Southwest head coach Cliff Collins said. “We have had a great week of practice defensively and offensively. We should be good to go.”

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Last week, the Bears lost a tough contest on the road to Jones, falling 48-3. The Wildcats are coming off of their homecoming, defeating Co-Lin 24-14.

In order to get the win over the Wildcats, Collins wants his Bears to get back to playing their brand of football. One positive for the Bears is with the later playing date in the week, it gives them time to try and get injured players back on the field.

Another advantage is that it gives the Bears a chance to further study their opponent in the Wildcats who present challenges on both sides of the ball.

“Pearl River, they are playing great defense right now,” Collins said. “They run the football and we have to be able to stop the run. They do well offensively and they will be trying to get down the field and beat us over the top. Defensively we have to be sound and we have to be able to stop the run. Offensively, we have to be able to create some plays down the field.”

Southwest will counter with several sophomore weapons on offense in quarterback Chris Roberson, running back Damuriyon Montgomery and receivers Jacoby Bellazar and Ja’Coby Matthews. Protecting them is an experienced offensive line including sophomores Izavion Miller, Leon Small and Markwan Perkins.

On defense the Bears rely on another experienced bunch in linemen Martavius Evans, Eric Taylor and Demarcus McGilberry, linebackers Fred Lewis, Buddy Felder and Hunter Lee and cornerback Kharel Coney.

Coach Collins said that in addition to his team having a good week of practice, he also wants the guys to enjoy the many activities on campus during Homecoming Week.

“I want them to enjoy the student life at Southwest,” Collins said. “We had some great activities from the cookout to the bonfire to the parade. I just want them to enjoy being a student where you can enjoy more than just your football here at Southwest.”

The game on Saturday will also allow for many Bear alumni to come back on campus and be a part of the festivities.

With all of the excitement and activities on campus, Collins also believes that his group will not allow any of them to be a big distraction.

“That is our message every week, it is not just because it is homecoming,” Collins said. “Concentrate on what you are doing and be ready to roll. You have to fully concentrate on your job and the task at hand.”

In addition the many alumni expected, Collins is also calling on the fans to show up Saturday evening and cheer on the Bears in the final home game of the regular season.

A win for the Bears will not only match last year’s win total, but it also sets them up with a chance to get the most number of wins in a season this program has seen in recent memory.

“This week is big, this week is a south division opponent. We just want to keep improving and keep closing that gap. You have to keep improving if you want to build,” Collins said.

The Bears and Wildcats will kick off Saturday at 5:00 p.m. from John I. Hurst Stadium. The Sophomore Day recognition ceremony will take place about a half hour beforehand.