It was the same old story yet again for Pearl River Community College Saturday afternoon at Dobie Holden Stadium.
Once again, the Wildcats gave a great effort, but once again they could not put two quality halves of football together and once again they made too many little mistakes that led to a 31-17 homecoming defeat at the hands of Copiah-Lincoln.
PRCC completed its season with a second consecutive 2-7 overall record (2-4 in the South Division). The Wolves finished the regular season 6-3 and 4-2.
“We had a plan to play better in the first half, and we accomplished that, I thought,” said Wildcat head coach David Saunders.
“Credit Co-Lin. It was not any adjustments they made. They just executed better, converted downs when they needed them and we didn’t get off the field when we had opportunities to do so.”
The Wildcats came out strong, taking the opening kickoff 69 yards to the Co-Lin 6-yard line before stalling, and settled for Mark Johnson’s 23-yard field goal.
PRCC then successfully executed an onside kick to regain the ball, but failed to gain a first down.
On the first play after the punt, however, Wolves quarterback Dominic DeLira was sacked and the ball knocked loose. Nose guard Josh Neumann picked up the fumble and rumbled 46 yards for a Pearl River touchdown.
That set the tone for the rest of the first half, as the Wildcats held Co-Lin to just 71 yards of offense, and DeLira to just 19 yards passing.
But the second half was a different story. DeLira started to find the range and running back Ladarius Galloway started to find holes in the Wildcat defense.
After completing just 5 of 11 passes in the first half, DeLira was 12 of 13 for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. And Galloway broke loose for 116 yards rushing in the second half, finishing with 177 yards on 25 carries.
“They didn’t do anything different,” said Wildcat sophomore Tyler Jack. “The second half, we just started being laid back and lazy, and they ran it down our throat.”
The Wolves scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the third quarter to take a commanding 24-10 lead.
PRCC got one touchdown back, as the Wildcats final got running back Darious Leggett untracked, driving 80 yards on nine plays, scoring on an 18-yard pass from Timothy Arnold to Jay Banks Jr. with 9:12 to play in the game.
But Co-Lin iced the game on the next possession, driving 69 yards for a final score.
Leggett continued to be a bright spot for Pearl River, rushing for 115 yards on 29 carries. He finished the season with 1,022 yards, just the fourth back in Wildcat history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a season.
“I really didn’t think about it,” said Leggett. “I was just concentrating on getting the W.
“This season was a learning experience. We learned how to deal with adversity and to keep working hard, no matter what happens. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”