Improved Wildcats drop OT heartbreaker to Hinds
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River football team gave Hinds all it could handle Thursday night inside Dobie Holden Stadium but dropped a heartbreaker in overtime 24-21.
"I hurt for them. They're fighting," head coach Seth Smith said. "It came down to third downs. We've been good all year on third down, but tonight we weren't. They converted several. In the second half, we didn't punch it in and missed three field goals. We just have to keep fighting. When we signed up to do this, we didn't sign up for easy. We're gonna keep fighting."
Pearl River (0-4 overall; 0-1 MACCC South) opened the night on fire, scoring in electric fashion thanks to a 9-play, 80-yard drive. The Wildcats methodically moved the ball from their 20-yard line to the 49-yard line. Following a 16-yard connection between Dustin Allison (Pass Christian) and Jordan Coleman (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove), the Wildcats gained three yards on a reception by Jordan Watts (Douglasville, Ga.; Alexander). One play later, Marquis McCoy (Crestview, Fla.) ran out into the flat on the left side, caught a pass, and tightroped his way down the sideline for a 32-yard score, 7-0.
The Wildcat defense came up clutch on the first Hinds (2-2; 1-0) drive. With the Bulldogs in PRCC territory, Olajahwon Harris (Pascagoula) picked up a 1-yard tackle-for-loss to force a fourth down. HCC opted to go for it, and Cedric McGill(Hattiesburg) was up for the challenge. The defensive end bull rushed through the offensive line and blew up the play for a 3-yard loss, giving the Wildcats the ball at their 37-yard line.
It took just four plays for PRCC to get on the board following the momentum swing. On the third play, Allison caught the snap and saw a wide-open Torry Polk (Poplarville) over the middle of the field. Almost as quickly as he received it, he zipped it to the slanting Polk, who carried it 44 yards. On the very next play, Allison found McCoy dashing across the middle for a 16-yard touchdown — their second touchdown connection of the night.
Hinds got on the board for the first time with 12:44 remaining in the second half. The 3-play drive included a 43-yard pass completion and was finished off by a 23-yard touchdown pass, 14-7.
The Pearl River defense came up clutch again in the second quarter. After backing the Eagles into a punting situation at their own 28-yard line, Kylan Egerson (Oxford; Lafayette) stormed off the edge and got a hand on the kick. Deander Shorts (Bassfield; Jefferson Davis County) swooped in, corralled the loose ball at the 10-yard line and carried it into the end zone for the score, 21-7.
Hinds came out of the midway point with a different mindset, going 13 plays and 73 yards on the first drive of the half. The drive was capped off by a 3-yard rushing touchdown that pulled the Eagles one touchdown closer, 21-14.
PRCC began a good drive with 6:06 on the clock in the third quarter, driving to the Hinds 32-yard line. The 8-play drive ended with a missed 49-yard field goal.
Hinds took over at its 47-yard line following a penalty and promptly drove down the field to score on a 2-yard rushing touchdown to even the score at 21 apiece.
The Wildcats pieced together a solid drive following the touchdown as Kayvon Barnes (Pascagoula) rumbled up the field for an impressive 43-yard gain. The drive stalled out, and a 34-yard field goal attempt was no good at the 11:17 mark in the fourth quarter. PRCC's defense gave the Wildcats a chance by forcing a punt on the following Hinds drive. Taking over at their own 20-yard line, the Wildcats used 10 plays to drive to the HCC 26-yard line. A last-second field goal attempt was no good, forcing overtime.
Pearl River had possession of the ball first to begin the overtime period, but was intercepted in the end zone. Hinds hit a 39-yard field goal to end the contest, 24-21.
BY THE NUMBERS
Allison finished 17-for-23 for 179 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game due to injury. Ty Hullette(Senatobia) was 1-for-3 for four yards.
Barnes tallied a game-high 97 yards on just nine rushes. Hullette rushed five times for 25 yards. Marquis McCoy finished with game-highs in both receptions and yards, with seven and 70, respectively. Coleman hauled in three passes for 38 yards.
Caleb Williams (Biloxi; D'Iberville) and Dalton Lee (Carriere; Pearl River Central) tied with 10 tackles apiece.
Pearl River hits the road next Thursday to take on rival Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. The game will be the 101st all-time meeting between the programs.
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.