WESSON, Miss. — The Pearl River Wildcats battled down to the final whistle at Copiah-Lincoln on Thursday night. Fighting dreary conditions from Hurricane Delta in addition to the Wolves, PRCC nearly overcame six turnovers before falling 27-24 at H.L. Stone Stadium.
"We would not be in the game without our defense. Coach (Ty) Trahan, Coach (Lorenzo) Breland and Coach (Ta'Ron) Sims do a phenomenal job and honestly, that's our hope," Pearl River coach Seth Smith said. "If we can just help them a little on offense, we can win. 27-24 is sickening because you lose 27-24 after turning the ball over six times. That's a sickening loss.
"Other than two big pass plays our secondary played great again. Again, the defense is the heartbeat of the team. If they continue to play like that, we'll find a way offensively to quit putting them in these spots. You can't play championship football by turning it over six times."
The Wildcats (0-2 overall; 0-2 MACCC South) and Wolves (2-0, 2-0) played a tight first half.
Co-Lin opened the scoring at the 10:12 mark on a 12-yard run.
Pearl River drove the length of the field on the next possession but threw an interception in the end zone. Coordinator Ty Trahan's defense came up big, forcing a three-and-out on the Wolves' next possession, and PRCC took advantage. The Wildcats drove 71 yards in nine plays and found pay dirt on a 22-yard touchdown run up the middle by Will Young (Hurley; East Central). The freshman running back capitalized on several key blocks along the line and dashed right down the heart of the Wolves' defense for the equalizing score.
Following another PRCC interception early in the second quarter, Co-Lin pieced together a lengthy drive. Facing fourth down at Pearl River's 34, Co-Lin opted to go for it, but linebacker Noah Mitchell (Leakesville; Greene County) made a huge open field tackle in coverage to give Pearl River possession.
After trading possessions for much of the second, Co-Lin looked to go back up seven late in the frame, but Elijah Jenkins (Picayune) broke through the Co-Lin pass protection on third-and-goal and sacked the CLCC quarterback. The home team settled for a field goal to go ahead 10-7 with 5 seconds remaining in the half.
PRCC's defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half and then tied the game on a 33-yard field goal from Branson Davis (Hurley; East Central).
The Wildcats jumped ahead 17-10 moments later when Mitchell hijacked a pass in front of Co-Lin's sideline and raced 37 yards for a touchdown.
The lead was short lived, however, as Co-Lin scored on a pass on its next possession.
The Wildcats were pinned deep on their next possession and following another interception the Wolves punched it in from 2 yards out for a 24-17 advantage with 2:23 remaining in the third.
CLCC extended its lead to 27-17 early in the fourth.
The Wildcats did not go quietly. After forcing a punt mid-way through the fourth the Wildcats drove 91 yards and scored on a 17-yard pass from Greer to Stetson Moore (Philadelphia) in coverage with 3:42 remaining.
It looked like PRCC might get another chance on offense, but the Wolves picked up a late first down to kneel-out the game.
Greer completed 10 of 15 passes for 79 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Austin Davidson (Meridian; West Lauderdale) completed 8 of 13 for 87 with two picks.
Young and Chris Holifield Jr. (Mobile, Ala.; Leflore) tied for the team rushing lead with 56 yards apiece on 10 and seven carries respectively.
Mitchell had a monster game defensively, recording 15 total tackles with a sack, three tackles-for-loss and an interception for a touchdown. Luther Woullard II (Petal) picked up nine tackles and Ra'Sheim Jordan (Hattiesburg) added seven. Jenkins and Gage Glover (Brooklyn; Forrest County AHS) finished with five tackles each.
Pearl River returns to historic Dobie Holden Stadium on Oct. 15 to host East Central. Kickoff in Poplarville is set for 7 p.m.
"I hope the fans will see the same fight (against ECCC), just better execution and less turnovers," Smith said.
Due to state capacity regulations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, tickets are extremely limited this season.
General admission tickets will be available for purchase at 8 a.m. Monday at PRCC's business office, which is located inside the Ted J. Alexander Administration Building.
Faculty and student tickets will be available at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning at the athletics table inside Crosby Hall.
A limited number of state passes will be accepted. Anyone with a state pass must call PRCC at 601-403-1456 to reserve a spot. Unregistered passes will not be accepted at the gate.
No walk-up ticketing is available this season.
Pre-sale tickets are $10 while they last.
STREAMING + RADIO
PRCCMedia.com is once again be the streaming home for Pearl River Wildcat Athletics in 2020-21. In addition to PRCCMedia.com, fans with a Roku or Amazon Fire device can also stream PRCC's games by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from the app store.
All football games will also be carried on WRJW 1320 AM and WRJWRadio.com.
WJDR 98.3 FM in Columbia is a new addition to the Wildcat Radio Network in 2020.