HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - That first chance arrives Friday in Flowood with a matchup between the top two ranked teams in the state's private school class.
PCS coach Joey Hawkins has his own history with Prep having coached at Jackson Academy.
"It goes back a long time," Hawkins said. "I was there fifteen years and we played Prep all the time. Coach (Ricky) Black is just a great coach. We've got a lot of respect for them. But we want to get a hat on a hat and drive them off the ball some and make some first downs and get this game where we want it."
Accomplishing this task will include slowing down a Prep offense that can score at any given moment. The Patriots have outscored opponents 324-96. One player to watch for is highly ranked sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy (he'll be wearing number two).
"They don't try to drive the ball.," Hawkins said. "They try to score every play. They're scoring every four, five plays. Lask week was the same thing. They only had the ball thirty plays, scored fifty six points (against Parklane Academy).
Prep defeated PCS in last year's independent Class 4A Division I semifinals 47-3. The Patriots are undefeated since starting the head to head series in 2005.
So What makes this year different?
"(This is) probably the best year to do it," PCS senior linebacker/fullback Justin Stewart said. "I think we're better and I think if we play right then we should definitely do it. It (would) be something good to accomplish before we leave high school."
Fellow senior Harper Evans said the team just needs to maintain it's course.
"Well we're just going to try to play it like we've been playing," Evans said. "It's worked pretty good so far. We're trying not to treat it like anything different. But of course we are preparing for Jackson Prep. They are a really good team and we'll take nothing away from that."
In what has already been a history-making season, the Bobcats can make even more history in Flowood Friday night.
"I started playing Prep in 1972 as an eighth grader," Hawkins said. Now here at PCS we're starting to make this a big rival game. The main thing is we just can't get stage fright. We're going to be on a big stage. We're going to have to go out and weather the first eight minutes of the game. That's going to be critical."