ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - They’ve been doing battle for nearly a century.
When you factor in Jones College and Pearl River Community College are separated by just 60 miles, it’s no wonder this game is considered a “Catfight” the last 90 years.
“They call it a catfight, I don’t know about a catfight,” said Jones College head coach Steve Buckley. “Every time I’ve seen a catfight it’s a bunch of screaming and hollering. I think it’s a physical football game. It is a rival game for us because of the proximity for both schools. It’s the next game on our schedule, though. We have no room for error and I’m sure they feel the same way.”
In an abbreviated six-game season, each contest becomes more crucial as the Bobcats (2-1) and Wildcats (1-2) enter the second half of their respective seasons.
First-year head coach Seth Smith navigates the uncharted territory while trying to establish a new identity for Pearl River. The 13 sophomores on his football team have helped immensely.
“They didn’t ask for us as coaches, they inherited us,” Smith said. “But they’ve done a tremendous job of buying into what we’ve asked, they’re playing hard and really they’re the reason why we’re having a little success and competing in games is they’re playing their tails off.”
PRCC will try to follow up its first win on Oct. 15 with another Thursday, dealing with a Jones College team that’s balanced on offense and stout on defense. The Bobcats allow less than 17 points per game.
“Any team you play in this league is going to be really good and well-coached and Jones is no different,” Smith said. “I would put Jones right up there with [Mississippi] Gulf Coast. Coach Buckley’s been there several years, he’s another coach who’s had success everywhere he’s been and does a great job with his program. They’re a really good football team.”
“Known coach Smith a long time, recruited his school many times, had a lot of his players,” Buckley said. “Great guy, he’ll have his team motivated to play.”
Smith has first-hand experience in this ball game – a former Wildcats linebacker at the turn of the century.
But his guys will have to line up themselves to see what the “Catfight” is all about.
“It was a long time ago when I played in it but even back then it was a battle and we’re going to do our best to make sure tomorrow night is a battle as well,” Smith said. “That’s the hope cause when you’re playing a team like this and you’re playing a game with this much tradition, you know when you step on the field and the ball flinches it’s going to be a war.”