Pearl River Community College played East Central close for a half, but costly turnovers were too much to overcome in their 35-21 loss Thursday at Dobie Holden Stadium.
The Wildcats (0-3, 0-1) took a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard pass from former Pascagoula High quarterback Andrew Dunn to tight end Sloan Spiller on fourth and three.
The Warriors tied the game at 7 as Antonio Gibson raced down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown run.
East Central (1-2, 1-0) grabbed a 14-7 lead on quarterback Dom Marino’s 9-yard keeper for a touchdown.
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But PRCC’s Javon Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 14.
East Central’s Devonta Jones then returned the kickoff 87 yards to the PRCC 9 and former Harrison Central running back Dwayne Barrett scored on the next play to give the Warriors a 21-14 lead.
Barrett’s second 9-yard touchdown run gave the Warriors a 28-14 halftime lead.
“We couldn’t get past the self-inflicted plays that really hurt us tonight,” said Pearl River coach David Saunders. “But you have to give credit to East Central for their physical play on both sides of the ball and the way their quarterback executed their offense. Our mistakes tonight are coaching. They are correctable. We will work on them, and we will get better.”
Pearl River started the second half with a 10-play drive that reached East Central’s 29. Dunn, however, threw an interception to end the drive.
Marino threw a 52-yard touchdown pass for a 35-14 lead after three quarters.
Darious Leggett led Wildcats rushers with 117 yards on 21 carries. Dunn completed 12 of 23 passes for 110 yards.