POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River football team got to experience the joy of winning two weeks ago in a thrilling victory over East Central.
Fresh off of a bye week, coach Seth Smith's Wildcats will now look to keep the momentum rolling this week as they visit rival Jones College on Thursday for the 90th edition of the "Cat Fight."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday will also serve as JC's Hall of Fame Game, which means a prolonged halftime.
"We felt our third game was our first game where we really played off of each other and played complementary football. Now that we've done it once, the goal is to line up and see if we can do that again, and again and again," Smith said. "When we play at Jones, the hope is it's a mirrored image of how we played against East Central."
Consistency, Smith said, is the key to carrying over PRCC's newfound momentum.
"We try to make sure we bring that energy daily," he said. "We remind them this is the new norm and what you work for. You work to get to this point and the euphoria of those wins."
While Thursday's showdown is a big one for the MACCC standings and is always pumped up because of the opponent, Smith said his Wildcats (1-2 overall) are treating it as any other Thursday.
"It's really just the next game," Smith said. "Obviously they're a really good team but our focus is just on us getting better. Jones is another team that's always ranked nationally and one of the contenders in our state every year.
"That said, it's really another measuring stick game for us."
ABOUT PEARL RIVER
PRCC's first win was a memorable one as the Wildcats toppled ECCC 28-21.
As the final buzzer sounded, Smith was doused with Powerade as the Wildcats celebrated on the sideline. The jubilant moment was the culmination of a number of things, Smith said.
"It was exciting, really for the kids. Bless their hearts, they've had to hear me preach at them for almost 10 weeks now. They've done a great job of doing what we have asked and put in the work, so it was rewarding to see those guys get to reap what they sowed and be a part of a winning football game," Smith said. "That was the most rewarding part."
The Wildcats have split time at quarterback between Jakob Greer (Bay St. Louis; St. Stanislaus) and Austin Davidson (Meridian; West Lauderdale). Greer has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 344 and four touchdowns. Davidson has completed 52.3 percent of his throws for 322 yards and a touchdown; he also leads PRCC's rushing efforts with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Will Young (Hurley; East Central) has rushed 21 times for 92 yards and two scores.
Latreal Jones (Taylorsville) and Stetson Moore (Philadelphia) are leading the receivers group. Jones has caught 17 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown. Moore has accounted for 186 yards and two TDs on 10 catches.
The reigning MACCC Defensive Player of the Week, Noah Mitchell (Leakesville; Greene County), not only leads PRCC in tackles with 44, but his 14.7 tackles-per-game are tops in the MACCC. He also leads PRCC with 2.5 sacks, eight tackles-for-loss and two interceptions.
ABOUT JONES COLLEGE
JC (2-1) boasts a relatively balanced attack on offense. Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 657 yards and four touchdowns without throwing an interception. He's also JC's third leading rusher, accounting for 50 yards and a score on 16 carries. Romal Webb has rushed for 420 yards, good enough for second in the state. His five rushing TDs are tops in the MACCC.
Markel McLaurin and Bud Tolbert lead the Bobcats' receiving corps. McLaurin has 18 receptions for 293 yards and two scores while Tolbert has 13 catches for 240 yards and a TD.
Mike Cockream leads JC's defense with 25 tackles. As a unit, the Bobcats have recorded seven sacks and four interceptions with six fumble recoveries.
"They have really good players, but in all honesty, in this league who doesn't have really good players?" Smith said. "Coach Buckley has been there several years and does a really good job. When you press play on film, it's clear they're well coached.
"They know what they're doing on offense and why they're doing it and it's the same on defense."
Jones leads the all-time series 45-42-2, according to PRCC records.
Jones has announced a "very limited" amount of single-game tickets will be available at the gate for $10. Once they hit their limit, however, ticket sales will be shut down. Gates open at 5 p.m. JC requires fans wear masks while moving around the stadium. Capacity for the MACCC stadiums remains limited to 25 percent.
STREAMING + RADIO
PRCCMedia.com is the digital 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.