Pearl River defense shines in loss to No. 7 Jones College
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss.: The Pearl River football team held No. 7 Jones College to its third-lowest yardage total of the season and got a defensive score Thursday night inside Dobie Holden Stadium but couldn't recover from an early deficit, falling 29-15.
"The kids are fighting. We're just not getting it done on offense right now," head coach Seth Smith said. "The only way we can dig out of this hole is getting better on offense. Our defense played amazing. For whatever reason, adversity has hit us, but we're not going to run from it. We're going to keep fighting."
Jones College (5-1 overall; 4-0 MACCC South) was the first to get on the board. Although the Bobcats got into Wildcat territory with a 20-yard pass, the Pearl River (0-6; 0-3) defense came to play. Using a bend-don't-break mentality, the Wildcats forced JC into a 41-yard field goal, 3-0. The Bobcats added a touchdown on their next drive. After a 79-yard rush, JC eventually cashed in with a short rushing score, 10-0.
The Wildcat defense cut the deficit to three points a few drives later. The Bobcat quarterback threw a pass into the flat for his running back and Kam Norwood (Hattiesburg) dashed in from his safety position and cracked him to force a fumble. Quandarius Keyes (Laurel) swooped in, snatched the ball off the turf and sprinted 65 yards to the endzone for the score. Corblin McGinn's (D'Iberville) point after attempt was good, 10-7. On the ensuing JC drive, the Bobcats went 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown, 17-7.
The first drive of the third quarter ended a bit unconventionally. Pearl River kept the Bobcats to a 4-yard gain on the first play. A.J. Prim (Foley, Ala.) was disruptive on the next play, breaking through the offensive line to tackle the Bobcat running back for a 1-yard loss. The Wildcats then forced an incompletion to put the Bobcats into a punt situation. After the snap, Cedric McGill (Hattiesburg) dashed forward and made it past the Jones College wall virtually untouched. The sophomore threw his hands up and blocked the punt attempt, sending it sailing nearly 20 yards through the air and out of the back of the endzone for a safety, 17-9.
With 9:23 remaining in the third quarter, JC's kicker drained a 43-yard field goal to extend the Bobcats' lead to 20-9. Jones College capitalized on a Wildcat miscue with 11:55 left in the fourth quarter. A low snap bounced past the Pearl River punter and made it all the way into the end zone before the Bobcats jumped on the loose ball for a touchdown, 27-9.
Jones College pinned Pearl River deep, downing a punt at the 1-yard line with 8:07 remaining in the game. The Wildcats embarked on a 15-play, 99-yard touchdown drive as a response. On the drive, Ty Hullette (Senatobia) connected with Jordan Coleman (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) three times and Marquis McCoy (Crestview, Fla.) twice to get deep into Bobcat territory. Hullette eventually brought the Wildcats to the JC 3-yard line with an unbelievable scramble. He rushed to his right, but the hole closed up. He turned back around and ran to the left side of the field while looking for more space. The redshirt freshman tucked the ball and turned on the jets to beat a couple of would-be tacklers before sidestepping a tackle attempt to gain 12 yards. Kayvon Barnes (Pascagoula) found the end zone on the very next play; however, PRCC's field goal attempt was blocked and returned for two points by the Bobcats, 27-15.
Jones College ran off the final 3:04 on their final drive to secure the victory.
Christian Turner (Orange Grove; Harrison Central) earned the start at quarterback, finishing 7-for-11 for 31 yards. Hullette came in and provided a spark, going 11-for-19 for 113 yards.
Barnes led the PRCC ground game, taking 14 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.
McCoy caught five passes for 52 yards. Coleman caught four for 32 yards. Jessiah Contee (Picayune) hauled in four passes for 29 yards.
Eli Hackbarth (Birmingham, Ala.; Oak Mountain) finished with a game-high nine tackles. Caleb Williams (Biloxi; D'Iberville) finished with eight and one TFL.
Pearl River hits the road next Thursday to take on Copiah-Lincoln. The game in Wesson will get started at 6:30 p.m.
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.