PHOTO: BOBBY McDUFFIE/JUCO WEEKLY
POPLARVILLE – No. 15 Mississippi Gulf Coast couldn't put archrival Pearl River away Saturday, falling to the Wildcats 31-27 at Dobie Holden Stadium.
The Bulldogs (5-3, 3-2 MACJC South) got a 37-yard field goal from Mason Hunt (Fr, Stone/Wiggins) on the first possession of the second half for a 27-17 lead, but wouldn't score again.
"It's a tough one to swallow," Gulf Coast coach Chad Huff said. "We had an opportunity to pull away, but mistakes hurt us. The margin of error in rivalry games is small. "
Pearl River (4-4, 3-2 South) scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to claim a homecoming win.
Gulf Coast is eliminated from the playoff picture. The Bulldogs had made 10 straight trips to the postseason.
The game started in spectacular fashion for the Bulldogs, with Derrick Beckom (Fr, Columbus/Columbus) blocking a punt and recovering it in the end zone.
Gulf Coast, however, roughed the kicker after the defense forced another three-and-out, and the Wildcats would take the second chance and tie the game up. They'd score on their next possession, too, before Gulf Coast would answer.
Terrion Avery (Fr, Stone/Wiggins) had a 6-yard run to make it 14-14 early in the second quarter, and after an interception by Mikail Webb (Fr, Columbia/Columbia), running mate Deandre Torrey (Fr, Gautier/Gautier) added a 4-yard run to make it 21-14.
Hunt answered a PRCC field goal with a 27-yarder of his own for the halftime margin.
Markevion Quinn ran in his second and third touchdowns of the game for PRCC, the last coming after the Bulldogs threw an interception.
The Bulldogs couldn't convert a couple of fourth downs late to keep drives alive and watch the Wildcats run out the clock.
"We didn't play very smart," Huff said. "We had opportunities to change the outcome of the game, and we weren't able to do it."
Gulf Coast closes out the 2017 season Saturday when Jones County visits A.L. May Memorial Stadium for Homecoming. The kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.