CARRIERE -- The Pearl River Central Blue Devils are one step closer to playing for the 5A state championship after last week's 52-7 victory over Natchez.
The Blue Devils (11-1, 7-0) will host Wayne County (9-3, 6-1) Friday night in the second round of 5A playoffs.
PRC has won nine straight games since falling to Harrison Central 21-13 in September.
"Practices have been going as usual," PRC coach Eric Collins said. "We have a great group of guys and they are mentally tough. We'll be fine. We have to be ready."
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Part of the Blue Devils' success has been the performance of senior back Christian Roberts, who has accumulated over 1,300 yards rushing this season. Roberts, who averages 5.8 yards per carry, has scored 20 touchdowns for PRC. Roberts was the team's third highest rushing against Natchez with 101 yards. Senior Hunter Holifield had 174 yards on 12 carries. Holifield is second in rushing on the season for PRC with more than 1,200 yards.
"You really want your team to continue doing what they do, the things that got them to this point," Collins said. "You don't want them to do anything different.. You don't want to change what you're doing in your approach. You just want to be consistent. That's been the major focus for this week. We're trying to minimize our mistakes."
The Blue Devils lost to Picayune in the first round of 5A playoffs last year, but Collins said his team is ready for Friday's challenge against Wayne County.
"Wayne County is a tremendous football team," he said. "I don't think you can get to the quarterfinals without being a good football team. It's going to be all about who controls the football and who doesn't give up the turnovers and who doesn't make silly mistakes. That's usually what determines the outcome of these games. We're looking to play error free. We just need to do what we do."