ELLISVILLE — The Wildcats would normally be content with a 2-0 road win at rival Jones College. Not this year.
After Tuesday’s road win, Pearl River coach Drew Gallant took his team to task for playing with a lack of cohesion against a unified — and previously unbeaten — opponent.
“It’s nothing against Jones. They looked great, played like a team and were organized,” he said. “We went away from everything we’ve done all season. It was not a good night for us.
“They took us off our game and it caused us tons of problems.”
Even with all the issues establishing a consistent attack and linking up, the Wildcats (6-0, 3-0 MACJC South) struck first in the 34th minute when Kealan Baggett (Ocean Springs) found Bo Bowman (Bay St. Louis; Bay) in space on the right side.
“I checked out wide toward the touch line when the ball was checked in to Kealan,” he said. “He turned with it and slipped me right in. I took a touch and then put it in.
“I just unloaded on it, and it went right in between his legs.”
It won’t go down in the stat book as an official assist, but Gallant said assistant coach Joao Paulo Valadares should get an additional helper on the strike.
“That was J.P. That’s what happens when you have a good staff. J.P. saw an opening and literally told Bo where to go,” Gallant said, before pausing. “… And then we couldn’t expose it ever again.”
It wasn’t until the 86th minute that the Wildcats struck again. With JCJC attempting to tie the game and the pressure mounting, Mike Jimenez (Ocean Springs) threaded a pass through a slew of Bobcat defenders to Jevaun Ennis (Maypen, Jamaica).
“When the ball was slipped through, I saw the defender was coming,” Ennis said. “I really didn’t trust it the first time, so I cut across and the far post was wide open.”
The goal came as a massive relief for Ennis, who’s normally a goal threat for the Wildcats but had been snake bitten of late.
“It was a relief because the last game I missed a bunch of goals that I normally score,” he said. “Players have bad games sometimes and that was my bad game.”
With their goals Tuesday, Bowman and Ennis are still neck and neck for the Wildcats’ golden boot; Bowman has eight goals, while Ennis has seven.
The reigning MACJC Goalkeeper of the Week, Kobe Lie (Hattiesburg; North Forrest), picked up his third shutout in six games by stopping six shots he faced.
Pearl River is back on the pitch with a road match at East Central. The match, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 19 but was moved due to Tropical Storm Gordon, is set to start at 5 p.m.
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