Critical mistakes proved too much for Pearl River Community College as the Wildcats went down to a 17-14 defeat at the hands of Northeast Mississippi in their season opener Thursday night at Tiger Stadium in Booneville.
The Wildcats hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 114 yards, and a muffed punt late in the third quarter set up the Tigers with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Mason Cunningham to L.J. Hawkins for what proved to be the game-winning score.
“I didn’t have them prepared, and that’s on me,” PRCC head coach David Saunders said. “Any time you have that many penalties, it’s obvious we didn’t prepare well enough, and that’s my responsibility.”
PRCC finished with 334 yards of offense, led by sophomore Darious Leggett’s 59 yards on 13 carries, including a 5-yard scoring run early in the third quarter.
Quarterback D.J. Gillins completed 17 of 28 passes for 165 yards and ran eight times for 55 yards. The Wildcats sustained drives, but had trouble converting in the red zone.
The Wildcats took a 14-10 lead on Joseph Williams’ 59-yard interception return, one of three passes Pearl River intercepted. Sophomore cornerback Tyler Jack had an interception and a blocked field goal.