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Pearl River looks to bounce back against Northeast

Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director


POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River will look to bounce back from its season-opening loss when Northeast makes the trip to Dobie Holden Stadium on Thursday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., with Sophomore Night festivities taking place at 6:30 p.m.


The Wildcat walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. between Dobie Holden Stadium and the new dorms.


Tickets are on sale now at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.


"The biggest thing is not panicking," head coach Seth Smith said about the message to his team. "We knew we were breaking in 10 new guys on offense and nine new guys on defense. We knew there would be some growing pains early.

"Anytime you get inside the 10-yard line, you want to score. Once we pressed play (on the film), our mistakes were self-inflicted. We were blocking the wrong guys or missing assignments. That stuff is correctable. This wasn't a case of trying harder. It was just missing assignments. We told the guys not to panic and keep working."


Smith talked about playing at Dobie Holden Stadium for the first time in 2023.

"These guys are excited to be at home," Smith said. "As coaches, we're excited to play again. We want to get that bad taste out of our mouths. It was an embarrassing loss. I understand you aren't going to win every game, but it should be tight. We're just happy to be back home."


ABOUT THE WILDCATS

One player who stood out the most in PRCC's opener was Jordan Watts (Douglasville, Ga.; Alexander), who finished with six catches for 35 yards. He returned a pair of kickoffs for 115 yards with a long of 66.


"Losing (Christopher) Holifield was tough, but Jordan's a guy who can fill that void. He did exactly what we thought he could do. He had a really good fall camp, and I thought he had a great game on Thursday."


Jordan Coleman (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) led the team in receiving yards with 59 on a pair of catches. Marquis McCoy(Crestview, Fla.) caught six passes for 32 yards.


Quarterback Dustin Allison (Pass Christian) finished 18-for-29 with 141 yards in the contest.

"He didn't have a lot to work with. Holmes did some things that we weren't prepared for, and it exposed us," Smith said. "Moving forward, we will be more prepared and can give him adequate time. Playing his position with the minimal amount of time he had — I thought he did some good things."

Pearl River's four running backs combined for 23 carries for 62 yards.


"We knew early on, and really even this week and next, we'd have to figure out what to do with this group. Last year, we had a two-headed monster, and that's what I want to do, but we want to be fair and give everyone a shot. I thought they ran hard, but we have to protect the football better.


On the defensive side, Tyree Jackson (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) finished first on the team with eight tackles. Eli Hackbarth(Birmingham, Ala.; Oak Mountain) had seven tackles and one sack.


Kam Norwood was dynamic for the Wildcats, finishing with six tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup and one blocked field goal.

"He's got God-given ability," Smith said. "He has a nose for the football. He's athletic and very fast. He played well last week, but he can play better. He's one of our team leaders."


ABOUT NORTHEAST

Northeast enters the week 1-0 after winning a defensive battle against Hinds, 20-7. It was the first home victory over the Eagles since 1974.


"Northeast looks a lot like they did last year," Smith said. "They play great defense. They'll run the ball on offense, and they have a quarterback who is good enough to throw it down the field. They're a good team.


"The plus this week is that we're going into a week with film on them, and we have film on ourselves to make corrections."


NEMCC's quarterback Justin Kowalak finished 17-for-26 for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Jayden Robinson led the Tiger rushing attack with 66 yards on 12 carries. Antion Kennedy and Chris McMillian each registered five attempts for 29 and 25 yards, respectively.

Defensively, Isaiah Bolton racked up 10 tackles and one TFL. K'Swaya Moffett Jr. finished with eight tackles and a TFL.

As a whole, the Tiger defense wreaked havoc, finishing with six TFLs, three sacks and three fumble recoveries.

"We'll have to do a good job blocking this week. We literally were not hitting our blocking assignments. If you don't block, you're going to get pressured. That's a communication thing up front that we have to do a better job with."


PEARL RIVER-NORTHEAST SERIES

The all-time series between the Wildcats and Tigers currently sits at 31-6 in favor of Pearl River. PRCC won last year's matchup 20-13 on the road.


TUNE IN

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.


CASHLESS BOX OFFICE

To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.


For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).


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