Pearl River Community College faces one of the nation’s top teams in its season opener Thursday night.
The Wildcats entertain ninth-ranked Northeast at 6 p.m. Thursday at Dobie Holden Stadium.
For the second straight year, PRCC (2-7, 2016) opens under a new coach. Ted Egger is serving as Wildcats’ interim coach.
A quick start is key to the Wildcats, especially with true freshmen on offense. PRCC lost 17-14 last year in Booneville.
“We’re looking to continue to play fast and play physical,” Egger said in a news release. “We’re just going to take care of this first game. I’m not really worried about anything but our football team, and what we can control. If we do the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”
Kent State transfer Justin Agner will start at quarterback. The Wildcats will have a running back by committee with freshmen Ron Thompson, Chandler Roberts and Jesse Pernell of Poplarville.
Wide receivers are led by freshman Christian Williamson and redshirt sophomore Malcolm Staten, formerly of Hancock.
The Wildcats’ defense will be led by their linebackers and secondary groups.
Former Harrison Central High Chase Crosby and David Salser of Pearl River Central return to start at linebacker. Sophomores Zhaunte McElroy and Daylon Burks lead the secondary.
“I think we’ve got some veteran leaders on that side of the ball,” said Egger. “They’re bringing the young guys along with them.”
Former Bay High soccer standout Mark Johnson returns as kicker and punter. He made 24 of 25 PATs and boasted a 47.7-yard punting average last season.
Egger is pleased with the Wildcats’ effort from fall camp.
“I think we’re starting to come together as a team,” Egger said. “That’s the most important thing. We’re starting to play for each other.”
Northeast at Pearl River
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Dobie Holden Stadium, Poplarville