The Pearl River Community College Wildcats will look to get back on track Thursday night when No. 1 East Mississippi Community College visits Dobie Holden Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Running back Ron Thompson(Bassfield) had a breakout performance in the Wildcat's season opener against Itawamba Community College. Thompson's 214 rushing yards on 17 carries not only placed him second nationally after Week 1, but the single-game performance also put him among PRCC's all-time leaders. Thompson's 63-yard touchdown early in the first quarter — and subsequent two-point conversion — gave PRCC (0-1) an early 8-7 advantage. He later broke free for a 70-yard run that set up another touchdown.
"He had a great game. He got it going and got us on the scoreboard early," PRCC coach Ted Egger said. "He's just a tough, physical running back. He has all the tools. I'm really proud of him."
Pearl River Community College safety Marshall Kozma (pictured) returns a kick against Itawamba Community College on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (BOBBY McDUFFIE/JUCO WEEKLY)
Quarterbacks Cooper Callis (Jackson, Missouri) and Tavis Williams (Gulfport; Harrison Central) made their PRCC debuts Thursday, with Callis also throwing his first two collegiate touchdowns. The first came late in the first quarter when he connected with K.J. Breland(Brooklyn; Forrest County AHS) for a 20-yard pass. He later connected with Justin Mary (Oak Grove) for a 7-yard touchdown to give PRCC a 20-point advantage. He finished with 158 yards on 14 of 31 passing.
"I thought overall for their first game out they did a good job," Egger said of his QBs. "We need to clean some stuff up, but they're two guys who work extremely hard so they'll do that."
Reggie Williams (Hattiesburg) and Gi'Narious Johnson (Gulfport) led the effort defensively with 10 and nine tackles respectively. Williams also tipped a ball that was intercepted by Kyron Norwood (Brooklyn; Forrest County AHS) and blocked a kick.
"Reggie really had a great game for us and made a big impact in a number of ways," Egger said.
Although Johnson was making his collegiate debut, Egger wasn't surprised by his performance.
"We expected it," he said. "He does everything you want a player to do. He works hard, practices hard, puts in the extra time and when you do that good thingsd happen."
The Wildcats' schedule won't get any easier this week with the reigning national champions coming to Poplarville.
While the Lions (1-0) are fresh off a 50-0 victory over then-No. 13 Hinds Community College, the Wildcats' preparation hasn't changed.
"They're a good football team, but for us this week isn't about East Mississippi," Egger said. "It’s about us doing what we need to do to improve from Week 1 to Week 2."
According to school records, PRCC leads the all-time series against East Mississippi 28-16-2 with the last contest between the Wildcats and Lions coming in 2013.
Due to Tropical Storm Gordon, PRCC announced admission to Thursday's EMCC will be free.
"Our administration wanted to give everybody a break from dealing with Tropical Storm Gordon, so we decided to invite the entire community to come out for free," PRCC Athletics Director Jeff Long said.
Thursday's contest can be heard on WRJW 1320-AM in Picayune, WRJWRadio.com, and WCJU-FM 104.9 Columbia-Prentiss with Carey Meitzler, Jacob Hickman and Tony Smith calling the action. The game will also be live streamed at PRCCAthletics.com, with Kelly Sanner and David Sutton providing the play-by-play and color commentary.
For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).