WESSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Pearl River Community College did just fine Thursday night when it managed to hold onto the football.
Trouble was, the Wildcats didn’t.
PRCC doomed itself with six turnovers in a 27-24 loss at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Two Wildcats combined to throw four interceptions and PRCC lost a pair of fumbles to not only thwart itself but aid the cause of the homestanding Wolves at H.L. Stone Stadium.
“We would not be in (that) game without our defense,” Pearl River coach Seth Smith said in a postgame statement. “If we can just help them a little on offense, we can win.”
The Wildcats (0-2, 0-2 Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference) outgained Co-Lin (2-0, 2-0) in total yardage, 331 yards to 274 yards.
The Wildcats led 17-10 in the third quarter before the Wolves scored 17 unanswered points to take a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
PRCC cut the lead to three points on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jakob Greer to Stetson Moore with 3 minutes. 42 seconds, left to play.
But the Wildcats could not get a defensive stop, and Co-Lin was able to run out the clock.
“Twenty-seven-to-twenty-four is sickening because you lose 27-24 after turning the ball over six times. That’s a sickening loss … You can’t play championship football by turning it over six times.”
The Wolves grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard run by former Hattiesburg High School standout Dexter Allen before the Wildcats tied the game 7-7 after one quarter on a 22-yard run by Will Young.
A 30-yard field goal by Co-Lin’s Bryce Lofton in the second quarter lifted the Wolves into a 10-7 halftime lead before PRCC tied the game early in the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal from Branson Davis.
PRCC’s defense then stepped up, with linebacker Noah Mitchell stepping in front of a Co-Lin pass and returning the interception 35 yards for a 17-10 Wildcats' lead.
Mitchell would have quite the night, recording 15 tackles, with three for loss, including a sack.
But Co-Lin reeled off 17 consecutive points, starting with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Paul Hargrave to TyQuan Henderson that tied the game.
Hargrave then set up his own, go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run with a 34 pass down to the goal line to Dontavious Turner and Co-Lin led 24-17 after three quarters.
The lead grew to 10 on Lofton’s 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter before the Greer-to-Moore TD toss brought PRCC within striking distance.
Greer completed 10-of-15 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. His quarterbacking counterpart, Austin Davidson, completed 8-of-13 passes for 87 yards with two interceptions.
Latreal Jones of Taylorsville led the Wildcats with six catches for 57 yards. Josh Sanders of Magee caught three passes for 12 yards. Former Hattiesburg High/North Forrest standout Rhyen Brisco had three catches for 19 yards.
Young finished with 56 yards on 10 carries for PRCC, while Chris Holifield had 56 yards on seven carries.
Hargrave completed 9-of-18 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also rushed seven times for 44 yards and a score.
Henderson led the Co-Lin receiving corps with three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Allen was the game’s top rusher with 68 yards on eight touches.
The Wildcats will welcome East Central Community College to Dobie Holden Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday in Poplarville. The Warriors (1-1, 1-1) evened their record with a 21-0 victory Thursday over Southwest Community College.