CCC Defeats Pearl River!
POPLARVILLE – The Coahoma Community College Tigers’ 0-16 mark against the Pearl River Community College Wildcats has finally ended.
Giving what CCC Athletic Director Freeman Horton described as a “complete team effort”, the Tigers took charge of the game in the second quarter and refused to wilt in defeating the Wildcats, 34-24, here Thursday night.
In a series dating back to 1980 when Pearl River CC rolled to a 51-7 victory, CCC appeared determined from the outset to erase the memories from those 16 agonizing losses.
“Our guys played their butts off. They never quit,” Horton said.
In posting their first victory of the season after three lopsided losses, CCC returns home to face East Mississippi CC, the defending national champions, on Sept. 27.
Roderick McKee, a freshman quarterback from Wingfield in Jackson, directed the attack completing 13 of 24 passes for 247 yards. Sophomore Daveonn Porter and Elias Wells supplied the bulk of the Tiger 147 yards rushing.
Just when it appeared Pearl River, led by quarterback Dylan Favre, nephew of National Football League legend Brett Favre, might pull out a victory in the closing minutes, CCC stepped up to turn back the Wildcats.
The clincher came when Dekoven Ware, a freshman linebacker from Terra, Ga., picked off a Favre pass and raced 30 yards for a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game.
Pearl River took a 2-0 lead with 5:32 left in the opening period when Wildcat lineman Maurice Jones from nearby Picayune sacked McKee in the end zone.
CCC went ahead with 5:18 in the half when McKee hit wide receiver Jordan Taylor with a 31-yard scoring pass. Jonathan O’Hara’s conversion made the score, 7-2. CCC nursed that lead into halftime by fending off a late gasp pass by Favre at the Tigers goal line.
CCC took the second half kickoff and moved downfield as McKee found receivers frequently open. Keenan Daniels hauled in a 16-yard scoring pass with 10:01 in the third quarter. O’Hara extended the CCC lead to 14-2.
Pearl River responded rather quickly behind Favre culminated by a 44-yard touchdown pass to Kris Riley with 8:36 in the third quarter. Brandon King’s kick cut the CCC margin to 14-9.
CCC took the ensuing kickoff and drove from its 24 downfield to the Pearl River 25 where McKee hit Tyshun Alston for the third touchdown with 5:26 remaining in the third period. O’Hara’s point-after try failed when the ball bounced off the goal post leaving CCC ahead, 20-9.
Penalties played a major role in Pearl River’s second touchdown drive.
Following a CCC punt to the Pearl River 42, the Wildcats took advantage of two costly Tiger penalties – one for holding and the second for a personal foul – bringing the ball to the CCC 35.
On second and one and seconds ticking off in the third quarter, Favre found Cheeto Johnson open for a 26-yard scoring play.
A penalty for having an illegal player downfield appeared to have foiled Pearl River’s bid for a two-point conversion. The Wildcats were not to be denied as Favre found Chris Perkins open in the back of the end zone on the next attempt to cut the margin to 20-17 when time expired in the period.
Pearl River came oh so close to either taking the lead or at least knotting the score at 20-all after a Wildcat player recovered a loose ball at the CCC three yard line following a blocked punt.
On second and goal from the seven, wide receiver Tyshean Norris seemingly had a go-ahead touchdown wiped out due to an illegal receiver downfield.
On fourth and five, King came on to try a 22-yard field goal but the kick went wide with 9:56 in the game.
CCC took over from its 20 and roared downfield primarily on its consistent running game.
Porter took a pitchout from McKee and raced 24 yards for the fourth CCC score with 6:14 in the game. O’Hara’s conversion gave the Tigers a 27-17 lead.
Favre, who transferred from Mississippi State after playing a year for the Bulldogs, kept pecking away a t the CCC defense and found Riley open for a 13-yard scoring play with 4:34 in the game. King gave Pearl River what turned out to be its last point at 27-24.
However, the suspense was far from over.
Taking the ensuing kickoff, CCC came close to wrecking its victory when freshman linebacker Martez Simpson stepped in front of a would be receiver grabbing the ball and returning it to the Tigers’ 14.
A holding penalty took some of the steam out of the Pearl River scoring threat. After Favre was sacked at the CCC 33, head coach Tim Hatten opted to go with Mike Alizzo, his long distance placekicker, to try a 50-yard field goal. It missed the mark and CCC held on to its 27-24 lead with 3:08 in the game.
McKee had CCC moving again before the drive stalled and the Tigers were forced to punt with 1:24 in the game.
Pearl River took over at its 19 leaving Favre little time to orchestrate a last-gasp try for victory.
Instead, Ware put an end to any notion of a Pearl River comeback when he grabbed a Favre toss and went 30 yards for a touchdown with 22 seconds to play. O’Hara’s conversion ended the scoring.
On the ensuing kickoff, Pearl River brought some fans to their feet when a Wildcat broke cleanly 50 yards before a Tiger brought him down inside the Tiger five as the clock expired.
CCC’s team effort had its individual heroes.
In addition to McKee, Porter and the wide receiver corps, the defense stepped consistently against the pass-oriented Wildcats.
The game has it somber moments as well.
The roars ceased for a while when Pearl River freshman running back Davante Bourgue took a hit that left him lying motionless with 8:27 in the half. The Pearl River coaches and players gathered around Bourgue before summoning for an ambulance crew to place the injured player on a stretcher and transport him to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.
The extent of his nature of injury was not known by the end of the game.
CCC led in first downs with 21 compared to Pearl River’s 15. CCC had 394 total yards to Pearl River’s 381. CCC had 147 yards rushing while Pearl River had 106 yards.
Favre completed 25 of 39 passes for 275 yards.
CCC had 16 penalties for 147 yards to Pearl River’s 12 penalties for 100 yards.
One of the keys to CCC’s victory was its lack of turnovers. Pearl River lost one fumble and had two passes intercepted.