HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On Friday night, Joey Hawkins' best Presbyterian Christian School football team faces the biggest challenge of its season so far.
The Bobcats, off to the best start in program history, will welcome Madison-Ridgeland Academy to town, a team they never have beaten.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"It's a big game," Hawkins said. "It's the first time in history we've been 5-0 with a chance to go 6-0. In some (private school) polls, we're ranked three and they're ranked two, and in others, we're ranked two and they're ranked three, so you have two of the top three teams in the state going against each other. It would be a great momentum boost for us. We've never beaten MRA, so it's a great game and it's perfect timing to play a really good program that has won 10 games or more over the last five or six years. It's just what we need to see where we're at as a team and make a statement here."
Last week, PCS (5-0) defeated Silliman Institute 45-7, while MRA (4-2) fell to Jackson Prep 34-7.
The Bobcats have been led by senior running back Isaiah Woullard, who has rushed for 1,090 yards and 12 touchdowns in five games.
Woullard has been complemented by senior quarterback Luke Hudson, who has thrown for more than 750 yards and six touchdowns.
Linebackers Rush and Justin Stewart have spearheaded a defense that has allowed an average of 13 points a game.
MRA, which was limited to just 63 yards passing in its loss last week, is led by quarterback Hunter Hulsey, who has thrown for 845 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Hawkins said the final score of the Prep game was misleading.
"They played with (Prep)," Hawkins said. "Of 154 plays, 145 of 'em were dead even. It was just eight or nine plays, which you can say with just about any game, but that's what it was. The rest of the game, there was no driving the ball. There was nobody running over anybody. It was just two good teams going at it. Prep's running back squirted loose a couple times and that was the difference."
Hawkins said the difference Friday may be how his Bobcats mentally handle not only the big-game situation, but facing down a program that it has yet to defeat.
"I think being at home will help, and then it's going to come down to execution and taking care of the ball," he said. "That's the two things that we have to be able to do. It's going to come down to who can make some plays in the clutch and who can execute under pressure"
Hawkins said he is expecting a large crowd for the Friday night showdown.
"Everybody in town I know who hasn't been to a PCS game says they're coming," Hawkins said. "So, I think it's going to be a huge crowd."
About The WDAM 7 Gametime App:
The WDAM 7 Gametime app is bringing you the latest on Pine Belt sports.
The app features up to the minute scores for games, video highlights from local games, in-depth interviews with coaches, and updated schedules for your convenience.
Interact with us by sending us your pictures from local games or by joining us in conversation on social media.
You can also get the latest on Southern Miss football, Mississippi sports, SEC, NFL, and Saints coverage.
Download now, it is Gametime in South Mississippi!
Apple users can download The WDAM 7 Gametime app here.
Android users can download The WDAM 7 Gametime app here.