PERKINSTON, MS (MGCCC) - Pearl River running back Darious Leggett isn't afraid to admit that he had been looking ahead to the Wildcats' game at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College even prior to PRCC's win over Jones County last week.
"I've been ready for this one," said Leggett, who is fourth among all NJCAA rushers with an average of 111.1 yards on the ground. "I'm pretty confident in the position that we're in now. We've always been the underdogs but now we've just got to go out and finish."
Both teams can do wonders for their playoff chances with a win this week, especially Pearl River (2-5, 2-2 MACJC South), who would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss.
Gulf Coast (4-3, 3-1 MACJC South) cannot clinch a postseason berth with a win this week, but a win would give them a stranglehold on the second playoff spot for now.
"Obviously it's a rivalry game, so that's very, very important," PRCC head coach David Saunders said. "To play on the road at their place with an opportunity to win a division game, a rival game, in college football those are things we use to recruit the guys to come here."
"We have to continue to push through and control the things we can control," MGCCC head coach Chad Huff said. "They've done that week to week, and we've just got to continue to do that."
The biggest question for the Bulldogs is who to start at quarterback. Freshman Larry Sisson made his first JUCO start in place of the injured Kalen Whitlow last week, passing for 268 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-35 win over Southwest.
"Our focus was to get Larry comfortable through the first few drives," Huff said. "The kids rallied around him, coach [Jason] Phillips did a great job with the gameplan and I thought he executed it really well."
Even though Pearl River leads the overall series 53-39-1, it's been a one-sided rivalry over the past decade worth of games. Gulf Coast has won 10 straight games against PRCC dating back to 2006, including a 41-10 blowout in Perkinston last season.
"We're about 25 miles away from each other, and some of the guys on the team we know personally," MGCCC sophomore linebacker Justin Stewart said. "It's going to be a great game. Everybody just needs to be out here to watch it. We're going to put on a show."