Pearl River pulls away from struggling Co-Lin

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

WESSON &045; Each time Pearl River’s defense would break through Co-Lin’s offensive line and put too much pressure on the quarterback, Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis would grimace.

And that grimace got bigger as the game went on.

Not that it was the one area that plagued the Wolves on Saturday, but the offense struggled as a whole in the second half in a 35-14 loss to Pearl River at Stone Stadium. The Wolves did not get a first down in the second half until their final drive, had six quarterback sacks and had four turnovers against the fourth-ranked team in the nation.

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&uot;We’ve got to get our quarterbacks playing better,&uot; C-L head coach Glenn Davis said. &uot;They can’t turn the ball over. We forced things a few times. We’ve got to work to keep our composure and not let the first play ruin the next play.

&uot;But I thought the kids played hard. Give Pearl River a lot of credit &045; they’re a good footoball team.&uot;

The Wildcats are indeed a good football team, one that executed at key times despite being flagged for countless penalties in a contest where it was hard to differentiate yellow flags from the Wildcats’ yellow socks.

The Wolves were flagged nearly just as much, but unlike Pearl River, they couldn’t take advantage.

&uot;Against this team, I thought we could come out and have a big game,&uot; said Co-Lin receiver Leon Stewart, a former Natchez High standout. &uot;The week before, we thought we would come out on top. They executed with all the flags. We’re there, but we’re not there 110 percent. We might be 100 percent, but we need that extra 10 percent.&uot;

The Wolves had a chance to seize some momentum at the start of the second half when Corey Rhodes picked off a Jimmy Oliver pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown for a 14-7 lead with 12:49 left.

Instead of momentum, it may have just angered the Wildcats. They scored on three of their next four possessions, and the Wolves’ next four possessions were about as quiet as the Stone Stadium crowd.

Punt, fumble, punt, interception.

&uot;It doesn’t really matter what anybody else does, we make adjustments to what we do,&uot; PRCC head coach Tim Hatten said. &uot;We came out here very, very undisciplined. I’m happy we won, but I’m very unhappy with the way we won. But the game was like that on both sides. It wasn’t like it was a picture-perfect game.&uot;

Oliver, an strong-armed, elusive freshman out of Columbia, came up with some big strikes after the interception to spark the offense into high gear. On the fourth play after the return, he hit 6-5 receiver Larry Brackins on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 11:00 left to tie it up.

The Wildcats turned it over on down on their next drive at the CL 22 but executed on their next drive when Oliver hit Levance Richmond on a 14-yard scoring pass with 4:39 left for a 21-14 leadss.

After another punt, Oliver came with the knockout punch when he hit 6-4 James Hollingsworth on a 74-yard touchdown pass for a 28-14 lead with 2:39 left. It was Oliver’s fourth touchdown pass of the game.

&uot;I’d like to say we coach him, but almost all that was playground ball,&uot; Hatten said of Oliver. &uot;He’s a gifted athlete. He didn’t have a great game, but I’ll take the good with the bad.&uot;

The Wolves had their best drive of the second half on their final drive when Beau Billeck hit Johnson on a 15-yard pass to get down to the PC 27. A 15-yard penalty negated a 5-yard loss on the next play to put the Wolves at the PC 18, but Billeck was thrown for a 12-yard loss on the next play.

On fourth and 7 at the PC 15, Billeck hit Charles McRae on a 2-yard pass to turn it over on downs.

&uot;I think we played harder,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I told the kids I wanted to see how they played today. They responded the way I wanted them to. They fought.&uot;

The Wolves struggled moving the ball in the first half &045; save their first drive of the game &045; but finally found paydirt on their final drive of the half. A 14-yard pass from Billeck to former Stewart got them down to the 10, but the Wildcats threw them back 16 yards on the next three plays.

Billeck then hit Daryl Johnson on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to tie it up at 7-7 at halftime.

The Wildcats scored on their first drive of the game when Jimmy Oliver’s 12-yard run capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive.