Too many self-inflicted mistakes proved too much for Pearl River Community College to overcome Hinds Community College Thursday night.
The Wildcats committed five turnovers and eight, costly penalties as the Eagles rolled to a 42-16 South Division victory at Dobie Holden Stadium.
“They beat us in the second half,” PRCC coach Ted Egger said. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. We just beat ourselves.”
The Eagles (3-0, 2-0) jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Hinds scored on a 67-yard touchdown run by DeVante Scott and following a PRCC interception, on a 29-yard pass from Tylan Morton to John Hightower.
PRCC (2-2, 1-1) got back in the game in the second quarter when freshman Jesse Pernell (Poplarville) capped a nine-play, 75-ytard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run.
After recovering a Hinds fumble, Pearl River drove to the Eagles’ 10-yard line before getting a 29-yard field goal from sophomore Mark Johnson (Bay St. Louis) to trail 14-10 at halftime.
The Wildcats’ were stymied on their opening drive of the second half after failing on a fourth-and-1 at PRCC’s 46 when freshman quarterback Markevion Quinn (Ruleville) was ruled short.
Egger was furious over the call, and the PRCC sideline wound up getting hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the Eagles took advantage of another short field to take a 21-10 lead after Morton hit Ra’Meik Wallace with a 20-yard touchdown pass.
“We got the first down, but the mis-spotted the ball,” Egger said. “But, you’ve still got to stop them on defense and we didn’t do that.”
PRCC stayed within striking distance on a 24-yard touchdown run by freshman Caleb Batie (Foxworth) to get the Wildcats within 21-16, but the Eagles returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to set up a one-play drive, with Scott running in from 27 yards.
Hinds tacked on two more scores in the fourth quarter to pocket the win.
“We didn’t play the Wildcat way (Thursday),” sophomore cornerback Zhaunte McElroy (Hattiesburg) said. “We had too many penalties and we got out-physicaled. The better team won
“We just have to go back to the drawing board and get ready for next week.
The Wildcats gained 428 yards total offense, including rushing for 303 yards. Freshman Ron Thompson (Bassfield) led the ground game with 128 yards on 16 carries and Batie added 94 yards on 10 carries.
Quinn struggled, completing just 14 of 35 passes for 128 yards, and eight penalties for minus 92 yards, three interceptions and two lost fumbles also hurt PRCC.
“We had to fight through what they were doing,” Quinn said. “We made some mistakes and we needed to play a little better as a team.”
The Wildcats hit the road for the longest trip of the season, visiting Itawamba Community College at 7 p.m. Thursday.