Pearl River Community College saw a valiant effort go for naught against sixth-ranked Northwest Mississippi, as the Rangers pull away in the second half to defeat the Wildcats 31-14 Thursday night at Ranger Stadium.
PRCC (0-2) played without starting quarterback D.J. Gillins and starting running back Darious Leggett, among others who sat out because of injuries.
The injuries crippled the Wildcats on offense, and the Rangers finally wore down PRCC’s defense with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter.
“There is a reason that team is the defending national champion and ranked sixth in the country,” said PRCC coach David Saunders. “But I want to credit our kids for the way they played. They gave us a tremendous effort, and I know we played smarter.”
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Pearl River could only muster 258 yards of offense, and yards on the ground were especially hard to come by, as the Wildcats only ran for a net of just 9 yards for the game.
Still, the Wildcats took a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Dunn to Cameron Bolton.
But Northwest beat the first-half clock for a five-play, 66-yard drive, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 11 seconds to play in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass from Clay Holgorsen to Marquisian Chapman.
The Rangers added to their lead midway through the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns, on a 30-yard pass from Holgorsen to KyKy Austin and 9-yard scoring run by Quarderman Sloan, following a fumble on the kickoff.
Pearl River narrowed the margin to 24-14 midway through the fourth quarter when freshman Timothy Arnold hit Joronnie Hinton for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Defensively, the Wildcats held Northwest to 256 yards of offense, led by Williams’ seven tackles. The Wildcats also sacked Holgorsen three times, all in the first half,