Pearl River can’t hold on at No. 10 Copiah-Lincoln
Published 10:19 am Tuesday, October 24, 2023
The Pearl River football team went into the midway point with the lead Thursday night at H.L. Stone stadium but couldn’t hold on to the momentum in the second half as No. 10 Copiah-Lincoln grabbed a 33-9 victory,
“You’re not going to win in this league if you don’t get first downs, and you have to score,” head coach Seth Smith said. “I thought we played phenomenal defense in the first, second and fourth quarters, but you put so much pressure on your defense when you have to get a stop every time.
“We will keep working. We’ve got eight more quarters to play, and we’ll do our best. We can’t change the past, but we can decide what is ahead.”
Pearl River (0-7; 0-4 MACCC South) broke out the trickery on its first drive of the game. Kayvon Barnes (Pascagoula) took the handoff, ran a few yards, and handed the ball off to Marquis McCoy (Crestview, Fla.) on the reverse. Meanwhile, fullback Jared Huff (Moss Point; East Central) had leaked out of the backfield and was running down the right side of the field alone. McCoy pitched the ball back to his quarterback Ty Hullete (Senatobia), and he lofted a pass down the sideline to Huff for a 36-yard gain. PRCC continued to push down the field before an incompletion and a penalty caused the drive to stall out.
Corblin McGinn (D’Iberville) dropped in a 36-yard punt that was downed at the Copiah-Lincoln (6-1; 3-1) 1-yard line. With the Wolves’ backs against the wall, PRCC’s defense held strong to force a punt attempt. The snap by the CLCC long snapper sailed high over the punter’s head and out of bounds for a safety to give the Wildcats the lead, 2-0.
Pearl River embarked on an impressive drive following the safety kick. Starting at its own 28-yard line, the Wildcats drove 72 yards in 10 plays — highlighted by a 34-yard rush that saw Hullette weave his way up the middle and down the right sideline. The drive finally ended when Barnes plunged into the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown, 9-0.
Copiah-Lincoln’s third drive of the game saw it cut the deficit to two points, 9-7, following a 54-yard rushing score. Pearl River moved deep into CLCC territory on the ensuing drive, eventually settling for a 31-yard field goal attempt. The snap and hold were good, but the kick was just wide.
The Wolves ran two plays on the following drive, but a tackle for loss by Eli Hackbarth (Birmingham, Ala.; Oak Mountain) made CLCC opt just to run the clock off. The half ended with the Wildcats on top, 9-7.
Something changed for Copiah-Lincoln out of the half as they were clicking right off the bat, using a pair of 32-yard completions to get into the end zone and take the lead for the first time, 14-9.
Pearl River’s next drive ended when a high snap went into their own end zone for a safety to give the Wolves the ball back with a 16-9 lead. They needed five plays to pick up another touchdown, 23-9.
Copiah-Lincoln added a 36-yard field goal with 2:27 remaining in the third quarter to extend its lead to 26-9. The Wolves scored a wacky touchdown for their final of the night. The Wolves’ quarterback fired a pass into the flat for his tight end. He turned and was met by a stout hit from Kylan Egerson (Oxford; Lafayette), resulting in a fumble. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the ball was scooped up by a nearby CLCC player and carried in for the score, 33-9.
Hullette finished 8-for-13 for 68 yards. He did his damage on the ground, carrying the ball 14 times for a game-high 101 yards. Barnes was second on the team in yards with 64 on 21 attempts.
Hackbarth led the Wildcats in tackles with eight. He added in one TFL. Caleb Williams (Biloxi; D’Iberville) was second with five tackles and one pass breakup.
Pearl River returns to Dobie Holden Stadium for the final time next Thursday for homecoming against Southwest. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Pearl River will hold its annual Homecoming parade starting at 5:15 p.m. The parade route begins at the nursing building and finishes up near the Dobie Holden statue near the stadium. The Wildcat walk will immediately follow at 5:30 p.m. Stick around after the game ends for PRCC’s Homecoming fireworks show.
All Pearl River football games are livestreamed for free at PRCCMedia.com/Gold. 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. The radio broadcast is also available at WRJWRadio.com and by downloading the WRJW app.
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2023-24. 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 PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets. Tickets are $8 if purchased ahead of time or $11 on gameday.