POPLARVILLE — Thursday will mark the start of a new season for the Pearl River football team. The Wildcats open MACJC South Division play with their first road trip of the year, a trek to Wesson to play Copiah-Lincoln (1-1).
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be streamed at PRCCAthletics.com and can also be heard on WRJW 1320-AM in Pearl River County and WCJU 104.9-FM in Columbia.
Despite the 0-2 start, PRCC coach Ted Egger saw some positives in last week's game against No. 1 East Mississippi.
"I thought we played well for a half," Egger said. "That showed us we can play with anyone. We just have to learn how to finish games."
Egger said a winning foundation begins in practice — and he should know. Egger took over the Wildcats prior to the 2017 season and proceeded to lead the program to a 5-4 finish.
"We just have to create that culture of learning how to finish and how to win," he said. "Winning's contagious. Once you get the first win, they want more of it."
Egger knows the team had a great chance to be 1-1 heading into Thursday's matchup at Stone Stadium. He also knows the Wildcats still control their own destiny, regardless of what happened in the first two games.
"We still have a lot of football left," he said. "We're 0-0 in the South. That's our focus right now."
PRCC owns a 42-38-3 all-time record against Co-Lin, according to school records. The two squads have alternated wins the last four years, with PRCC coming out victorious in 2017. The 40-21 win, however, hasn't been brought up to the team.
"It's a whole different year," Egger said. "In this league, every year is a whole different year. You can't rest on what you did last season. You have to come to play every week."
Co-Lin stumbled in its opener, falling at Holmes, 29-28. The Wolves rebounded last week with a 21-7 victory at Northeast.
The Wolves have been led at quarterback this year by Hayden Davis, who has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception in 58 attempts. The Co-Lin QBs have spread the ball around through two games, with 11 different players recording at least one reception. DeMartre Collins leads all Wolves with seven receptions for 97 yards. Antoine Robinson leads Co-Lin with two receiving touchdowns. On the ground, Deione Dampier leads Co-Lin with 100 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Cooper Callis (Jackson, Missouri) leads PRCC's passing attack with 289 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Ron Thompson (Bassfield) has been the driver of PRCC's offense, collecting 268 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. Thompson's 134 yards-per-game average ranks seventh nationally.
Through the air, Tyler Polk (St. Martin), K.J. Breland (Brooklyn; Forrest County AHS) and Hayden Brice (Madison; St. Joseph) have been go-to targets. Polk leads the team with nine receptions. Breland has caught eight passes for a team-high 116 yards and one score, while Brice has caught eight passes for 65 yards.
Reggie Williams (Hattiesburg) has set the tone defensively, racking up 23 tackles and two tackles-for-loss.