No question, Presbyterian Christian School football coach Joey Hawkins likes to toss in a bit of the unexpected, a trace of the unconventional into his game plans from week to week.
But what Hawkins really, really likes is to wear opponents down with a relentless running game.
Hawkins mixed in those ingredients, as well as a more than a taste of a passing game Friday night, as the Bobcats went on the road and rallied for 42-20 victory at Columbia Academy.
PCS (2-0) won its 16th consecutive regular season game, dating to the 2015 season, in Hawkins 100th game as Bobcats’ coach.
“I didn’t even realize that until somebody told me,” Hawkins said.
Columbia Academy (1-1) led 6-0 after the first quarter, but the Bobcats went up 14-6 at halftime and then broke the game open with a 28-point third quarter to lead 42-6. The Cougars scored twice in the final quarter.
“Hey, look, they led after that first quarter, and I’m telling you, they were aggressive, especially on defense,” Hawkins said. “They stopped a lot of our running game early, and I’m telling you, it was a real, hard-fought contest that first half.”
A fake punt for the second consecutive game highlighted the third quarter. With blocking backs running wide, and the punter leaping high before pretending to run after a high snap, junior Taylor Bailey took the ball from center and ran 59 yards to the Columbia Academy 1-yard line to set up a short touchdown run.
Eventually, the ground game got untracked, with PCS rushing for 262 yards on 33 carries, an average of 7.6 yards per carry.
Senior Sheldon James, who rushed for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening win against West Marion, picked up 154 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries against the Cougars.
Senior Alden Rhian added 17 yards and a score on five carries, while sophomore Eric Robinson had 47 yards on two carries.
Junior quarterback Brandon Thornton completed 7 of 11 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and he gained 15 yards on six carries and scored twice.
Junior tight end Tyson Keys caught three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Robinson has 3-yard touchdown catch.
Columbia Academy sophomore quarterback Ras Pace completed 20 of 31 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score and a two-point conversion run.
Senior receiver Aaron Thomas hauled in 11 passes for 160 yards and two scores, while junior running back Drew Havard ran for 59 yards on nine carries and caught three passes for 33 yards.
PCS will welcome Adams County Christian Academy at 7 p.m. Friday. The Rebels (3-0) beat Vicksburg High School 40-14 Friday and are averaging 38 points a game.
“They made it to the (Mississippi Association of Independent Schools) 3A championship game and got beat by Indianola,” Hawkins said. “They have got some athletes, now.”
Columbia Academy will host Purvis High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tornadoes (1-1) defeated West Marion High School 24-14 Friday.
Purvis 24, West Marion 14
PURVIS - The Tornadoes (1-1) came up with seven turnovers, including five interceptions, to ease past the Trojans (0-2) Friday.
Purvis led 3-0 after one period, and both teams scored twice in the second quarter as the Tornadoes held a 17-14 halftime lead. But the Trojans were shut out in the second half and Purvis added a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
West Marion senior running back Charles Lewis ran for 137 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Holder completed 11 of 23 passes for 111 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to junior Dontavious McGowen.
Purvis will travel to Columbia Academy at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cougars (1-1) lost 42-20 to Presbyterian Christian School Friday.
West Marion welcomes cross-county rival East Marion High School to Foxworth at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles (0-2) lost 47-24 at Columbia High School Friday.
Jefferson Davis County 22, Collins 20
BASSFIELD - Lance Mancuso has seen a lot of this, a bit of that across his long, high school football coaching career.
Then came Friday night.
In the first home game in Jefferson Davis County football history, his Jaguars fumbled away the football 10 times, losing five, and had to hold on for dear life to come away with the win over rival Collins.
“I thought I had seen it all, but now, I’ve seen it all,” Mancuso said. “Every time we turned around,(the ball was loose). Then, there were the numerous penalties and careless errors. I think it was about the ugliest football game I’ve ever witnessed.”
“But, it’s like I told the guys, two weeks from now, all they’ll remember is that you won the ballgame. That’s the goal each and every Friday night, and obviously, we would like things to transpire differently, and you play your best every Friday night, but a win’s a win, and we found a way. We just gutted it out defensively.”
The Jaguars especially gutted it out at the end. Jefferson Davis got the ball back with less two minutes to play, and immediately fumbled it back to Collins. But the Jaguars bowed up in the shadow of their goal line to preserve the victory.
“There’s always a week in there where you really don’t play as well as you’d like, but you have to find a way to win,” Mancuso said. “Hopefully, we got that out of our system.”
The Class 3A Jaguars will need to, with a 7 p.m. trip Friday To Waynesboro on the horizon to take on Class 5A Wayne County High School.
The War Eagles (1-1) will be looking to rid themselves of the memories from their last game, a 42-3 thrashing from Class 6A Oak Grove High School Friday in Hattiesburg.
“We have to have a good week and focus on playing as well as we can,” Mancuso said. “It’ll be the same for them. Forget about last week, and get ready to play as well you can.”
Petal 28, Gulfport 21
PETAL - Senior Nataurean Watts ran for a score and senior Natorian Watts caught a touchdown pass as the Panthers (1-1) evened their record.
Petal forced five turnovers, including recovering four fumbles. Senior Trey Clifton recovered two fumbles, senior Caleb Ratzleff and junior Kobe Windham had a recovery each and junior Zytavia Magee forced two fumbles. Junior Luther Woullard forced a fumble and came up with an interception.
Senior quarterback Jordan Wilson completed 18 of 31 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Senior Marquise Bridges caught six passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Natorian Watts had four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Nataurean Watts led the Panthers with 77 yards rushing on 18 carries, and he grabbed four passes for 19 yards. Sophomore Micah McGowan ran seven times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
The Panthers travel to New Orleans Saturday afternoon to face Brother Martin High School (0-0).
Stringer 46, Clarkdale 8
STRINGER - Anthony Thomas and Zy Arrington each ran for two touchdowns as the Red Devils (1-1) opened up a 30-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
Thomas, a junior, ran for 174 yards on just six carries, including a 90-yard run. Arrington, a sophomore, had 65 yards on seven carries, including a 51-yard run.
Junior quarterback Cayleb Dyess completed 4 of 6 passes for 29 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown to Conner Hicks. Dyess also ran for 46 yards and touchdown on five carries.
Seniors Mikquan Payton and Reece Barber each scored on a two-point conversion.
Senior Hayden Boyd kicked a field goal and three extra points for Stringer.
The Red Devils will host Enterprise High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs (0-2) lost 57-14 to Scott Central High School Friday.
Taylorsville 40, Raleigh 22
RALEIGH - Freshman quarterback Ty Keyes threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Tartars rallied from a first-quarter deficit to pick up the road win.
Raleigh (1-1) led 22-13 after one period, but the Lions were held scoreless over the next three quarters. Taylorsville scored 14 points in the second quarter to take a 27-22 halftime lead and then scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Keys completed 16 of 26 passes for 244 yards and ran for 86 yards on just three carries.
Senior Perry Keyes caught eight passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, senior Latreal Jones had three catches for 83 yards and a score and senior Malik Strickland grabbed three passes for 43 yards and touchdown.
Senior running back Kris Moncrief paced the Lions, rushing for 216 yards on 28 carries, while junior Chris Mathis ran for 56 yards on five carries.
Taylorsville will host Mize High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs (1-1) beat Mount Olive 25-8 Friday at home.
Raleigh will welcome Lawrence County High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cougars (0-2) fell 41-14 to Brookhaven High School Friday.
Mize 25, Mount Olive 8
MIZE - Senior Corey McDonald caught a touchdown pass from senior quarterback La’Travious McNair, but the Bulldogs (1-1) stuffed the Pirates’ running game, holding Mount Olive (1-1) to minus 17 yards rushing.
McNair completed 10 of 27 passes for 181 yards, but also was intercepted twice.
Senior Austin Hunt led the Pirates with 10 tackles, while senior Brandon Thomas and junior Bobby Hubbard made nine stops apiece.
Mount Olive travels to St. Patrick High School in Biloxi at 7 p.m. Friday. The Fighting Irish (0-1) opened their season with a 22-14 loss to (Foley, Ala.) Snook Christian Academy.
Mize will visit Taylorsville High School (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tartars downed Raleigh High School 40-22 Friday.