PEARL — It was a very evenly matchup but in the end, Pearl’s running game that made the difference.
Behind the trio of Kenyatta Harrell, Jerry Johnson and Carleontaye Spires the Pirates were able to get past Petal 28-10 in a crucial Region 3-6A matchup at Ray Rogers Stadium on Friday night.
“I thought we played all three phases really well and rushed the ball really well,” said Pearl coach John Perry. “I thought the last two weeks the kids prepared really well.”
Pearl (3-2, 1-0 Region 3-6A) finished with 253 yards rushing total on the night, and Kenyatta Harrell had 118 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns to lead the rushing attack.
After a Petal fumble, Harrell scored on an 11-yard run with nine minutes left in the second quarter to give Pearl a 7-0 lead.
On Pearl’s next possession, Jerry Johnson scored on a 5-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0 with five minutes left in second quarter.
“We knew coming into the season that with all of our offensive line back that running the ball will be our strength,” Perry said. “We got three running backs that are really good and all run with different styles and tonight they all played well.”
Petal would get on the board on a blocked punt by Jokorian Newsome and Kobe Windham would scoop and score from 3 yards out to cut the Pearl lead to 14-7 with 20 seconds left in the first half.
Johnson also added a 12-yard touchdown reception with 2:13 left in the third quarter to extend the Pearl lead to 21-10.
Harrell would add a 36-yard touchdown run with 7:59 left in the fourth quarter to make it 28-10 Pirates.
“It is always good to be 1-0 in region play,” Perry said. “We’ve been behind before in this region and to start 1-0 is huge.”
Petal just couldn’t establish a running game. Micah McGowan would lead the Panther rushing attack with 79 yards on 24 carries.
Quarterback DeCarlos Nicholson would go 14-of-26 passing with 128 yards with an interception to lead the Panthers (1-4, 0-1).
Petal coach Marcus Boyles was not available for comment.
(Photo: Chuck Lick)