Pearl River preparing for battle with No. 5 Gulf Coast
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River football wraps up its two-game road trip Thursday as the Wildcats take on archrival No. 5 Gulf Coast. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at A.L. May Memorial Stadium and tickets can be purchased at MGCCCBulldogs.com/tickets.
Pearl River (1-1 overall) is coming off an exciting 24-14 victory over Coahoma.
"I think that our guys played the game the way that it should be played," head coach Seth Smith said. "They used all their talent and tools and exerted every bit of energy that they had. That's how you play the game and that's how you respect it. The product that we fielded last week was reflective of who we are and who we will continue to become."
The Wildcat defense stifled the Tiger offense, accounting for two interceptions, a fumble and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.
"We expected our defense to be good from day one," Smith said. "It took me some time to wake up and realize that this stuff is fixable, so let's fix it. It's fixable and when you play the game hard, it's fun. There is a certain enthusiasm involved when your teammates are out there making plays."
Despite rushing for nearly 200 yards, Smith feels that his team still has work to do.
"The irony is that our ball get off was good, but we still missed a bunch of blocks," he said. "It's encouraging because our effort was good, and we still had almost 200 yards rushing while missing assignments the entire game. Schematically, we still have things that we can get much better at."
SCOUTING GULF COAST Gulf Coast (2-0) is fresh off a come-from-behind victory over Northeast. The Bulldogs rallied from down 12 points to win the game 18-16.
Sophomore quarterback Phillip Short is 27 of 52 for 313 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
MGCCC features a two-headed attack at running back. Cam Thomas has rushed 28 times for 232 yards and a touchdown while Xavier Evans has 14 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Hydee Barlow leads the team in tackles with 22.
"Gulf Coast is as advertised," Smith said. "Coach (Jack) Wright has been successful everywhere that he has been. He's an excellent coach. When you press play, you can tell those kids know where to go and what to do. They play very hard."
Smith feels that the Wildcats must minimize mistakes in order to be successful.
"If we play hard and we minimize turnovers then we have a chance," he said. "If you play a team like this and you don't give great effort and you turn over the ball, a team like this will embarrass you.
"We know that it will be an absolute war."
PRCC AND MGCCC SERIES Pearl River records indicate that the Wildcats lead the all-time series against Gulf Coast 55-39-1. The Wildcats took the early lead in last season's matchup, but the Bulldogs claimed the game 42-25.
TUNE IN All Wildcat games are streamed 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 are also available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into WRJW 106.9 FM and 1320 AM and in Columbia on WCJU 102.7 FM and 1450 AM; and in Hattiesburg on WHSY 105.9 FM and 950 AM. The radio broadcast is also available at WRJWRadio.com and by downloading the WRJW app.
Carey Meitzler (play by play), Jacob Hickman (color commentary) , and Eli Ouder (sideline reporter) comprised the Wildcat broadcast team.