Pearl off to hot start before region play
Region play for Class 6A and 5A begins this week.
And for Pearl it has been one brutal non-division schedule.
The Pirates have passed all the tests so far and they’re on the brink of making a little school history.
In a game that head coach John Perry called a “slobber knocker” the Pirates held off Madison Central 14-7 Friday night in a battle of Top 10 teams at the Jungle to start the season 5-0 for just the fourth time in school history and first time since 1992.
The other two times Pearl started the year 5-0 were 1983 and 1951.
In the game Friday, Pearl leaned on defense. The Pirates D would force five turnovers, including turning one into a touchdown on a 60-yard fumble return by Tylan Knight.
The other turnover was an interception by Jarvis Townsend that helped set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Jaylon Stovall. Pearl also held the Jaguars to just 225 yards of total offense, including just 23 yards passing.
Pearl’s offense only had 43 yards of total offense in the win.
The Pirates other wins are against Brookhaven, Warren Central, Northwest Rankin and Parkway (La.).
“Brutal non-division schedule was to get us battle tested,” Perry said. “We are now ready for region play. Like every week our goal is to goal 1-0 this week.”
Pearl opens Region 3-6A play Friday at Petal (2-2).
Perry Central on the rise
One team that came into the season has a “sleeper” is turning into a contender in 2A South.
Perry Central, who moved down to 2A from 3A, is off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2009 and has been leaning on defense.
The Bulldogs defense has given up just a total of 43 points in its first five games (8.6 points per game).
Tyree Bolton, Jaren Handy, Tyler Eckford, Derrick Hartfield and Tijuane Bolton all help anchor the defense.
“We believe our defense has been the strength of our team so far,” said Perry Central coach Chip Bilderback. “Our defensive line has done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Bolton, who plays defensive end on defense, is also the starting quarterback. You don’t see that often.
Bolton and Mckail Sumrall anchor the run-heavy offense for Perry Central. Sumrall has rushed for 632 yards with 12 touchdowns and has rushed for over 100 yards in every game so far for the Bulldogs.
Bolton has rushed for 181 yards with five touchdowns and has passes for 105 yards.
“Offensively, we’ve improved every game,” Bilderback said. “Both Bolton and Sumrall lead us on offense and help us move the sticks.”
Perry Central will have its biggest test of the year on Friday when they host Taylorsville (5-0).
“This week will be our biggest game of the year so far and our first 2A game,” Bilderback said. “Taylorsville is a very well rounded well team with a great quarterback and explosive receivers.”
South Pontotoc off to best start since 1985
One of the biggest surprises so far this year is South Pontotoc.
The Cougars are off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1985 after its 66-31 thumping of Bruce on Friday night.
Offensively, the Cougars are very balanced averaging 168.8 yards per game passing and 167.8 yards per game rushing.
Quarterback Cole Brown has tossed for 844 yards with 14 touchdowns, while running back Eddie Ivy has rushed for 608 yards with eight touchdowns to lead the ground game.
Brett Riley has 10 touchdowns receiving for the Cougars.
Ivy had 221 yards with 5 touchdowns on Friday night against Bruce.
Barett Griggs has 53 tackles to lead the defense that gives up just 20 points a game.
“We’re very excited about how the season has gone so far. The kids have bought into the system and it si paying off,” said South Pontotoc coach Michael Bradley. “The season is a grind and we got a long way to go, but we are right where we want to be at this point.”
Greene County on the move in South 4A
Speaking of surprises, the Greene County has been one in 4A under first year head coach Michael King.
To remain undefeated the Wildcats had to use dramatic fashion on Friday night against Long Beach.
Quarterback Derrick Grice would score on a 2-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds left to lift Greene County past the Bearcats.
Wildcats are out to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1999.
Grice leads the way offensively for Greene County averaging 165 yards per game passing and 128 yards rushing.
Noah Mitchell (55 tackles, 11 tackles for loss), Blake Daughdrill (37 tackles) and LaDon Woullard (33 tackles, 1 sack) lead the defense that has given up just 48 points (9.6 points per game).
“At this point we are still only guaranteed 5 wins, our primary focus has to be on how we finish,” said Greene County coach Michael King. “From our perspective, the early success can be a challenge, because focusing on wins or loses can cause you to lose sight of the day to day things that make you successful in the first place.”
Wildcats travel to Moss Point (1-4) on Friday and will stay at a campment, of course all the Survival Cooking essentials were taken into count already.
Another streak snapped
Seems the theme of 2017 has been the snapping of losing streaks.
McLaurin saw its 21-game losing streak come to a close with a 40-6 win over Enterprise-Lincoln Friday night on homecoming.
It was the Tigers first win since Sept. 18, 2015 against well Enterprise-Lincoln.
Johnathan Cooper had 144 yards rushing with two touchdowns to lead McLaurin (1-4).
Tigers host Rankin County foe Puckett (3-2) on Friday.