POPLARVILLE, MS (PRCC) - Too many big plays proved to be too much for Pearl River Community College in the 87th Cat Fight against Jones County.
The Wildcats allowed scoring plays of 44, 78 and 93 yards in the first half, and never recovered, as the Bobcats defeated PRCC 52-31 Saturday afternoon at Dobie Holden Stadium.
Pearl River dropped to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the South Division. Fourteenth-ranked JCJC (6-1, 4-0) remained tied with Hinds for first place in the division.
"It was a competitive game, and they just made a few more plays than we did," said PRCC coach Ted Egger. "They're a good football team, and we missed a few tackles that turned into big plays."
The Wildcats made a few big plays of their own, primarily on the legs of freshman quarterback Markevion Quinn (Ruleville), who rushed for 206 yards on 19 carries and scored four touchdowns.
"My line opened up the holes on the counter plays," Quinn said. "They believed in me and I was able to make plays."
Quinn started a parade of big plays on Pearl River's second possession of the game, after recovering a Jones fumble at the Wildcat 24-yard-line.
On the first play after the turnover, Quinn burs through the middle of the line, cut back to his right and out-raced the pursuit for a 76-yard TD run.
The Bobcats responded after intercepting a pass at the Wildcat 44.
On the first-down play, Jones quarterback Detric Hawthorn scrambled away from a big pass rush and found tight end Chancie Tidwell open on the right side, and Tidwell lumbered all the way for a touchdown.
Back came the Wildcats, as Quinn answered with a 59-yard touchdown run. However, it took just two plays for the Bobcats to find the end zone again, on a 78-yard catch-and-run from Hawthorn to Kendall Parham.
PRCC regained the lead on a 37-yard field goal by sophomore Mark Johnson (Bay St. Louis), but then it was all Bobcats until well into the second half.
Jones took the lead for good on a 93-yard scoring play from Chris Weaver to Parham, and after forcing a Wildcat punt, the Bobcats took a 28-17 lead into halftime on Weaver's 1-yard run.
"It was those three big plays that were the difference," said sophomore linebacker Chase Crosby (Gulfport). "It was so much what they did, it was just mistakes on our part, missed tackles and missed assignments."
While Quinn was stellar running the ball, he struggled passing against tight coverage by the Bobcat secondary, and he was sacked four times for 22 yards. Quinn completed just 7 of 20 passes for 87 yards.
"I made some mistakes passing the ball," said Quinn. "I wasn't going through my progressions like I should have. I just have to learn from my mistakes and get better."
JCJC took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 75 yards on 12 plays, with DeShawn Smith scoring from 12 yards out.
Quinn came back with a 13-yard scoring run to cap a nine-play, 63-yard drive, but the Bobcats had an answer, scoring on a 3-yard run by Weaver. Quinn scored his fourth TD on a 1-yard run, but Jones iced the game with a 14-yard TD pass from Weaver to Jeriko Morris.
For the game, Jones County piled up 589 yards of offense, including 379 yards through the air. Pearl River had another productive game running the ball, rushing for 307 yards.
"There are no easy games in this league, and that's what makes it fun," said Egger. "We're going to go back to work and start getting ready for our next opponent."