Junior Colleges

PRCC overtakes Southwest to remain in South Division race

PRCC running back Caleb Batite and the Wildcats beat Southwest Saturday.
PRCC running back Caleb Batite and the Wildcats beat Southwest Saturday. JUCO Weekly

When Pearl River Community College needed big plays against Southwest Mississippi, the Wildcats were able to deliver.

PRCC came from behind with a pair of spectacular plays from quarterback Markevion Quinn in the third quarter, as Pearl River defeated the Bears 30-17 in South Division football action Saturday at Hurst Stadium on SMCC campus.

PRCC evened its record at 3-3 overall and improved to 2-1 in division; Southwest dropped to 0-6 and 0-3.

“Every win is a good win,” said PRCC coach Ted Egger.

Quinn, a freshman from Ruleville, got PRCC back on track in the third quarter, when he dashed 75 yards for touchdown moments after Southwest took the lead for the first time.

The Wildcats got the ball right back when sophomore Justin Hulett (BiloxI) recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and on the next play, Quinn hit freshman K.J. Breland (Hattiesburg) for a 47-yard scoring strike.

“We knew we needed to help our defense out and get them off the field,” said Quinn, who ran 13 times for 134 yards. ”The coaches decided to let us run a read play. I saw the end go out with the backs, so I decided to cut it back inside, and it was open.”

The Wildcat defense has taken some lumps this season, but Saturday, they stood tall when it counted, thwarting the Bears on a fourth-down play from the PRCC 12-yard-line midway through the fourth quarter.

“The game was thrown on our shoulders, so we knew we had to step up,” said sophomore Jordan Mims of Pascagoula, who had three pass-breakups, including the key fourth-down stop . “Our coaches put us in the right defense, and it was good enough to stop them.”

And it was the defense that put the exclamation point on the victory, when redshirt freshman Korbin Harmon (Oxford) recovered a fumbled snap in the end zone for a TD on the final play of the game.

The Wildcats started fast, taking the opening kickoff 64 yards on nine plays, with Quinn scoring on a 20-yard run.

After Southwest went three-and-out on its initial possession, the Wildcats drove to the Bears 20 before settling for a 37-yard field goal by sophomore Mark Johnson (Bay St. Louis) and a 10-0 lead.

Southwest stiffened defensively, and trimmed the Wildcat lead to 10-3 on a 37-\yard field goal by Gunnar Robinson, and that’s the way it stayed through the remainder of the first half.

Southwest found success through the air on its first two possessions of the second half, scoring on touchdown passes from Juwan Adams of 22 yards to Averyon Harris and 34 yards to Neil McLaurin.

After Quinn and the offense regained the lead for Pearl River, the Wildcats forced a fumble and two punts before the Bears drove from their own 39-yard-line following an interception to a first down at the Wildcat 15.

“People have been questioning us,” said Mims, who had two of his pass-breakups in the end zone on that series. “Before the game, we got together as a unit and Sig Lewis (sophomore nose guard from Hattiesburg) told us we had to do our job, that if we did that, we’d win the game.”

Taking over at the Wildcat 12 with 3:43 to play after the fourth-down stop, PRCC picked up two first downs and bled all but 12 seconds off the game clock before Johnson’s 47-yard punt pinned the Bears at their own 16.

“We did a lot of good things today,” said Egger. “I think we were plus on turnovers, and when you get turnovers, it’s a big deal.”

PRCC hosts Jones County next Saturday at 1 p.m. in their annual Cat fight at Dobie Holden Stadium.