POPLARVILLE — Ted Egger’s office inside Dobie Holden Stadium pays tribute to Pearl River Community College’s past while simultaneously looking forward.
Entering his second season as the Wildcats’ head coach – and first after earning the removal of the interim tag following a successful 5-4 campaign – the Hornell, New York, native’s work space has plays and depth charts scrawled on many of the dry erase boards and scattered sheets of paper. A bookcase houses PRCC's multiple helmets, including a matte black one that complements the Wildcats’ new all-black Under Armour look that the team will debut in 2018.
And then there’s the banner over his desk, with all 19 state championships and two national titles spelled out. There are constant reminders of the Wildcats’ storied history throughout the fieldhouse — and Egger wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The expectations are a little higher this year, which is good because that’s what you’re in it for,” he said. “I don’t want to be someplace where there aren’t expectations.
“We have 19 state championships and I want to leave a legacy with our name on one of those state titles.”
Losing a quarterback a month before breaking for fall camp would prove to be a fatal blow for most offenses under normal circumstances. Egger’s believes his squad will be the exception.
When Wildcats QB and 2017 breakout star Markevion Quinn (Ruleville/Ruleville Central) announced his commitment and subsequent plans to immediately transfer to Memphis in late June, the ‘Cats remained confident thanks to their depth at the position with incoming freshman Cooper Callis (Jackson, Missouri) and former Harrison Central star and Jackson State quarterback Tavis Williams (Gulfport; Harrison Central).
The two quarterbacks complement each other well on the field and Egger expects both to play in 2018.
“We feel like we have a couple of good ones in Tavis and Cooper,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch those two.”
Ted Egger is back for his second season leading Pearl River Community College's football team. The Wildcats posted a 5-4 overall record in Egger's debut. PRCC opens the 2018 season on Aug. 30 at home against Itawamba. (JUCO WEEKLY)
Whoever is in shotgun won’t be running the offense alone. Egger is excited about a host of playmakers the Wildcats will place around the quarterback.
PRCC will look to sophomore Ivory Scott Jr. (Kenner, Louisiana) to provide a veteran presence up front, likely at left tackle.
“He brings a lot to it and has worked hard. He had a great year last year,” Egger said. “He has good footwork and is physical. He just does a lot of things right.”
A “mean” offensive line will likely be clearing the way for some combination of sophomores Jesse Pernell (Poplarville) and Ron Thompson (Bassfield), and freshmen Marquis Cherry (Hancock) and T.J. Wash (Forest; Scott Central).
Sophomore receiver Tyler Polk (St. Martin) highlights a deep receivers group.
“We’re going to be really fast,” Egger said. “We’re talented. I think that’s probably our most talented position group of all.”
The Wildcats will deploy Egger’s patented 3-3-5 defense that he first adopted as an assistant at Adams State in 2002.
“We’re going to run to the football; we’re going to be gap sound; and we’re going to tackle. Just the basic fundamentals,” Egger said. “But we have to run. Our philosophy is 9-5-9: Nine guys within 5 yards of the football 90 percent of the time.
“If we get that, we’ll be in great shape.”
Some of PRCC’s most seasoned returners entering the 2018 season are on the defensive side of the ball, with safety Kyron Norwood (Hattiesburg; Forrest County AHS), linebackers Cory Jackson (Jackson; Madison-Ridgeland Academy) and Reggie Williams (Hattiesburg) and lineman Ja'Merrick Waller (Poplarville) leading the unit.
While Egger’s defensive expectations will rest heavily on the sophomore class, he’s practically giddy about some of his newcomers, like defensive backs Jaylan Wilson (Bay St. Louis), Kentrell McCray (Stone), Sirvares Snow (Newton), Ron Baker (Jefferson Davis), Joe Applewhite (Jefferson Davis) Terrence Humphrey (Clarksdale) and linebacker Darrell Sims (Jefferson Davis).
“We have a whole lot of good young talent,” Egger said. “I think this is the best secondary we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Wayne County product Heath Mosley will handle kicking and punting duties, while the returner roles are still being decided.
The Wildcats open their season with home games Aug. 30 and Sept. 6 against Itawamba and East Mississippi, respectively. PRCC will alternate home and road games for the duration of the season, traveling to Copiah-Lincoln (Sept. 13), Hinds (Sept. 27), Southwest (Oct. 13) and Mississippi Delta (Oct. 27), and hosting East Central (Sept. 20), Jones County (Oct. 4) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (Oct. 20).
Pearl River Community College hosted its annual "Meet The Wildcats" scrimmage on Thursday, Aug. 23 at Dobie Holden Stadium. PRCC opens the 2018 season on Aug. 30 at home against Itawamba. (KRISTI HARRIS/PRCC ATHLETICS)