Pearl River meets JCJC in Cat Fight

By STAN CALDWELL,

POPLARVILLE – One of the most hotly-contested rivalries in all of junior college football will be renewed this week, when Jones County visits Pearl River Community College for the annual ‘Cat Fight.

The Wildcats and the Bobcats have played each other 86 times prior to this season, and the series is dead-even, with each team winning 42 times and tying twice.

PRCC (3-3 overall, 2-1 in South Division) is coming into this week off a solid effort in all phases of the game, defeating Southwest Mississippi 30-17 at Summit.

JCJC (5-1, 3-0) was ranked 17th in the NJCAA poll last week and figures to move up this after smashing East Central last week 49-7.

“Jones is a very good football, undefeated in our division,” said Wildcat head coach Ted Egger. “It’s a big rivalry game, but we’re going to prepare for it just like we do for all of our other games, work hard in practice and get ready to play.”

Pearl River got another splendid performance from freshman quarterback Markevion Quinn (Ruleville) in the victory over the Bears. Quinn ran 13 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 10 of 17 passes for 106 yards and another score.

Quinn delivered as the Wildcats got big results on three consecutive plays after Southwest had grabbed a 17-10 lead midway through the third quarter.

On the first play after the Bears’ kickoff, Quinn dashed 75 yards for a game-tying touchdown, the Wildcats recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and on the next play, Quinn hit freshman K.J. Breland (Hattiesburg) for a 47-yard touchdown pass.

“He can run, he can throw, and he’s getting better each week,” said Egger. “He’s a competitive kid and he’s put the work in.”

Quinn leads the Wildcats in rushing, with 493 yards on 70 carries and seven touchdowns, and he’s completed 45 of 89 passes (50.1 percent) for 662 yards and four TDs.

Defensively, PRCC had one of its best games of the season, shutting out the Bears in the final 20 minutes of playing time.

Sophomore J’Quille Washington (Hattiesburg) led the Wildcats with nine tackles and broke up three passes.

Two other players also had three PBUs, sophomores Daylon Burks (Lumberton) and Jordan Mims and redshirt freshman Korbin Harmon broke up two passes and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

Jones County and Pearl River first met on the football field in 1934, a 33-0 Wildcat setback, but did not start playing every year until 1946.

Each team has a five-game winning streak in the series. PRCC won five in a row from 2002-06; JCJC won five straight in the early years of the rivalry, then took five straight from 2011-15 before the Wildcats broke the streak last season in a 30-23 victory.

In other action around the MACJC last week, Hinds got past Copiah-Lincoln 16-15 to remain tied with Jones atop the South Division.

In North Division play, top-ranked East Mississippi rolled over Holmes 49-3, Northwest blanked Coahoma 35-0 and Itawamba whipped Northeast 68-28. In inter-division play, Mississippi Gulf Coast cruised past Mississippi Delta 52-20.

In South Division games, Hinds (5-0, 4-0) hosts East Central (1-5, 0-4) and Southwest (0-6, 0-3) is at Gulf Coast (4-2, 2-1).