Wildcats come up short

By STAN CALDWELL,

POPLARVILLE – No. 5 Northwest Mississippi was every bit as good as its ranking Thursday night as the Rangers dominated Pearl River 34-21 in MACJC football action at Dobie Holden Stadium.

PRCC (1-1) fell behind 27-0 in the second quarter and never recovered; Northwest is 1-0 after its first completed game of the year.

The Wildcats early after a pair of disastrous plays, a 30-yard interception return and a blocked field goal return for touchdowns. The Rangers then made it 27-0 on back-to-back scoring drives.

PRCC got its first score of the game on a 52-yard pass from JustiPOPLARVILLE – A pair of disastrous plays in the first half proved too much for Pearl River Community College to overcome against No. 5 Northwest Mississippi.

The Wildcats gave up scores on an interception and a blocked field-goal on the way to a 27-0 deficit that was too much to overcome in a 34-21 defeat at the hands of Rangers in junior college football action Thursday night at Dobie Holden Stadium.

PRCC evened its record at 1-1, while Northwest is 1-0 after its first completed game of the year.

“I was proud of our kids, because they never quit, and we’re going to continue to play that way,” said PRCC coach Ted Egger.

“We had two mistakes for touchdowns and that was the difference in the game, 13 points. Against a team as good as Northwest, you can’t have turnovers.”

The Wildcats appeared to have momentum when Drake McCarter missed a field goal after the Rangers drove to the PRCC 15-yard-line on their initial possession.

But on the second play of the next series, Turner Rotenberry stepped in front of a pass from Wildcat quarterback Justin Agner and easily dashed 31 yards for a Northwest touchdown.

“They just made plays,” said Agner, who finished the night 16 of 35 for 240 yards and two touchdowns. “Everything they did we’d seen on film. I just didn’t do a good job of executing.”

Pearl River responded by driving to the Northwest 1, but on fourth and goal, Agner was sacked for a 6-yard loss.

After the defense got a stop, PRCC drove to the Ranger 15 before a penalty and a sack moved the ball back to the Northwest 31.

The Wildcats lined up for a 48-yard field-goal attempt, but the kick was blocked, and Chris Stamps scooped up the ball and raced 58 yards for a touchdown.

Northwest swiftly added two more touchdowns on drives of six plays and three plays, scoring on a 12-yard pass from Jack Abraham to Jerrick Orr and an 8-yard run by Quarderman Sloan.  

PRCC finally got some positive momentum, getting its first score of the game on a 52-yard pass from Agner to freshman Tyler Polk, capping an eight-play, 90-yard drive. Mark Johnson’s PAT made it 27-7 with 3:46 to play in the half.

PRCC got an interception at the goal line by Cory Jackson with 12 seconds left in the period to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard, and the Wildcats narrowed the margin with 3:46 left in the third quarter on Caleb Batie’s 12-yard scoring run. Johnson’s kick made it 27-14.

Batie, a redshirt freshman from West Marion, provided a big spark for the Wildcats, carrying 10 times for 89 yards, plus he recovered a muffed punt on special teams.

 “The defense started a little rough, and we had to pick it up after they got a lead on us,” said sophomore linebacker Chase Crosby, who had 10 tackles for the second straight game. “I thought we got it together and played much better in the second half.”

Northwest came back quickly, driving 70 yards on six plays to regain a three-score lead, scoring on Kevin Perkins’ 15-yard run.

 

The Wildcats refused to quit, however, driving 85 yards on eight plays to score on a 48-yard pass from Agner to Malcom Staten. Johnson’s PAT made it 34-21 with 7:22 to play in the final period.

But the Rangers were able to grind out the remaining time to seal the victory.

The Wildcats finished the night with 375 yards of offense and 23 first downs.

 “We might not be the biggest, fastest, strongest, most talented team, but we’re never going to quit fighting,” said Agner. “That’s been instilled in us by our coaches. That’s the kind of players they’ve recruited and that’s who we are. We’re never going to quit.”

The Wildcats will make their first road trip of the season next week, when they battle East Central at 6:30 p.m.Thursday at Decatur in the South Division opener for both teams. Next home game for PRCC is Sept. 21 against Hinds.

PRCC GAME SUMMARY

Thursday at Poplarville

Northwest 34, Pearl River 21

Northwest       7          20        7          0          --          34

Pearl River      0          7          7          7          --          21

First Quarter

NW – Turner Rotenberry 31 interception return (Drake McCarter kick), 8:00.

Second Quarter

NW – Chris Stamps 58 blocked field goal return (kick blocked), 13:04.

NW – Jack Abraham 12 pass to Jerrick Orr (McCarter kick), 9:31 (5 plays/84 yards/2:10 possession).

NW – Quarderman Sloan 8 run (McCarter kick), 6:50 (3/42/0:56).

PR – Justin Agner 52 pass to Tyler Polk (Mark Johnson kick), 3:46 (8/90/2:59).

Third Quarter

PR – Caleb Batie 12 run (Johnson kick), 3:46 (5/52/1:47).

NW – Kevin Perkins 15 run (McCarter kick), 6:25 (6/70/2:12).

Fourth Quarter

PR – Agner 48 pass pass to Malcom Staten (Johnson kick), 10:03 (11/65/4:57).

TEAM STATISTICS

NW                  PR

First downs                  28                    23

Total net yards            408                  375

Rushes-yards               42-197             40-135

Passing yards              211                  240

Comp-Att-Int               16-25-1            17-36-2

Fumbles-lost                1-1                   2-0

Penalties-yards           8-87                 8-84

Punts-avg                    3-44.3              4-33.0

Sacks-yards                 3-18                 0-0

Third down                  6-12                 7-16

Fourth down                0-0                   1-2

Time of possession      30:06               29:54

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

Northwest – Kevin Perkins 15-71, Monta Thomas 10-60, Billy Kimble 4-31, Quarderman Sloan 10-31, Jack Abraham 1-6, Team 2-(-2); Pearl River – Caleb Batie 10-89, Ron Thompson 8-28, Chandler Roberts 6-13, Jesse Pernell 5-12, Justin Agner 8-0, Team 1-(-2), Markevion Quinn 2-(-5).

Passing

Northwest – Jack Abraham 16-25-1-211; Pearl River – Justin Agner 16-35-2-240, Janiero Crankfield 1-1-0-0.

Receiving 

Northwest – Jerrick Orr 3-67, Pro Wells 3-45, Cole Rotenberry 3-35, JaVonta Payton 3-28, Demarcus Jones 2-14, Jamario Dixon 1-16, Quarderman Sloan 1-6; Pearl River – Tyler Polk 6-101, K.J. Breland 3-24, Malcom Staten 2-55, Shakeenen West 2-30, Jakwaize Walker 2-19, Christian Williamson 1-11, Justin Agner 1-0.

 

 

n Agner to Tyler Polk, capping an eight-play, 90-yard drive. Mark Johnson’s PAT made it 27-7.

PRCC narrowed the margin late in the third quarter on Caleb Batie’s 12-yard scoring run. Johnson’s kick made it 27-14. Batie, a redshirt freshman from West Marion, provided a big spark for the Wildcats, carrying 10 times for 89 yards.

Northwest came back quickly, driving 70 yards on six plays to regain momentum. The Wildcats refused to quit, however, driving 85 yards on eight plays to score on a 48-yard pass from Agner to Malcom Staten. Johnson’s PAT made it 34-21 with 7:22 to play in the final period.

But the Rangers were able to grind out the remaining time to seal the victory.

Agner completed 16 of 35 passes for 240 yards and two scores. Freshman Tyler Polk caught six passes for 101 yards for PRCC.

The Wildcats will make their first road trip of the season next week, when they battle East Central at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Decatur in the South Division opener for both teams. Next home game for PRCC is Sept. 21 against Hinds.

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