injury-plagued PCS welcomes Lamar School Friday

By CAMAL PETRO,

When a young team like Presbyterian Christian is in the process of gaining experience week by week, the players need a game like last week. In a 20-7 loss, the Bobcats were in the game, and there’s something to be said for that.

As much as the Bobcats want to win every week, games like Friday night are something they are striving for. Coach Derek White sees his young players getting better, and it’s a good sight to see despite the 0-4 record.

“I saw a team that fought their butts off. We’re getting better,” White said. “We had two guys out (with injuries) and our kids responded pretty well, fought back and kind of got a little more of an identity of who we’re going to be.”

White sees the improvement, but not capitalizing on the big plays is hurting the team. It hasn’t helped that injuries haven’t allowed the same group of players to practice together in back-to-back weeks either. Three key starters missed last week’s game, while freshman quarterback Collin Necaise played sparingly, according to White.

“We’re starting to figure it out and getting better,” White said. “We just have to make some plays. We had a couple of big plays where we either dropped or had a mental breakdown, but that’s going to come with experience and repetition. We’re making progress and we’re getting there.”

“We don’t have great numbers but our kids fought their tails off.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier this week, as one of the best quarterbacks in the state travels to Hattiesburg. Lamar School’s signal caller, Joseph Hutchinson, is committed to continuing his football career at Ivy League Princeton University.

White has asked around about the 6-foot-5-inch quarterback, and he’s gotten rave reviews.

“I’ve heard people say, and I’m going to tell you what people tell me,” White said. “He’s the best quarterback in the state from any classification. He’s 6-4, 6-5, 200-plus pounds, so he looks the part. Big arm and he can run. They spread you out and let him show off that big arm.”

The Raiders (2-2) started the season with losses to Starkville Academy and Jackson Academy, two teams that will compete for state championships in their respective classifications, then took down MHSAA 2A Newton and Heritage Academy in the last two weeks.

Lamar School is coming off back-to-back MAIS AAAA-D2 State Championships as well.

“They’re a two-time defending state champion, so they ought to be pretty good,” White said. “They’re very well coached and they’re coached by a legend in this state. They’re in a great situation and they’re clicking. They’ll get into a four front and they’ll get into some odd fronts, and they come after you. They’re very well coached and they’re a very sound football team that’s going to present a lot of challenges for us.”