Explosive plays propel Hinds Eagles over Pearl River Wildcats, 51-9

Explosive plays propel Hinds Eagles over Pearl River Wildcats, 51-9

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Explosive plays pushed the Hinds Community College Eagles past the Pearl River Community College Wildcats Thursday evening, Sept. 26, by a score of 51-9.

The Eagles started the game off with a bang when Ferante Cowart, of Tampa, Fla., returned the opening kickoff 90-yards for a touchdown.

Less than three minutes later, on Hinds first offensive play of the game, quarterback Elijah Walker connected with wide receiver Joe’Vontae Shorter, of Vicksburg, on an 82-yard touchdown pass giving Hinds a 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing PRCC drive, DeMario Nichols, of Pearl, intercepted the Wildcat pass and returned it 41-yards, putting Hinds in the red zone. Unfortunately, Hinds was unable to capitalize on the interception, as they fumbled on the first play of the drive. The stingy Hinds defense, however, led by defensive coordinator Kevie Thompson, forced the PRCC offense to go three and out. From there, the Eagles made it back to the red zone quickly, when Traveyon Craig, of Cleveland, made a stellar 43-yard, one-handed grab. Conner Smith, of Vicksburg, was then able to capitalize on the red zone appearance for Hinds as he split the uprights on a 20-yard field goal attempt to give the Eagles a 17-0 lead with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter.

After the Eagles defense forced another PRCC punt, Elijah Walker, of Amite, La., dished a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tabashi Thomas, of Douglasville, Ga., on just the third play of the Hinds’ drive. Walker’s second touchdown pass of the night increased the Eagles’ lead to 24-0 with 2:57 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles’ offense picked up right where they left off as Don Ragsdale, of Pisgah, took the opening handoff of the second quarter 80-yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 31-0.

The Wildcats were able to get on the board on the subsequent drive via a 36-yard field goal, which cut the Hinds lead to 31-3 with 9:59 on the clock in the second quarter.

Eagles’ defensive back Jonathan Jordan, of Greenville, capped off the scoring in the first half when he intercepted the Wildcat pass and returned it 59-yards for the touchdown. The pick-six gave Hinds a 38-3 lead heading into the half.

Hinds continued to display their play-making abilities in the second half when Ferante Cowart returned a Wildcat punt 73-yards, giving the offense a first and goal opportunity. Running back Zhadarian Haywood, of Terry, made the most of the opportunity and found the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run. The Haywood touchdown gave the Eagles a 45-3 lead, which enacted the mercy rule where the clock runs continuously the remainder of the game.

The Eagles added six more points when quarterback Jack Garrad, of Madison, called his own number and ran it in the end zone from three-yards out expanding the Hinds’ lead to 51-3 with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats were able to secure a five-yard touchdown run with 4:14 remaining in the game, but it would not be nearly enough as Hinds went on to run out the remainder of the clock and lock down the 51-9 victory.

The Eagles were proficient in almost every statistical category.

“We were finally able to get the passing game going, and our guys made some big-time plays,” said Offensive Coordinator Kelly Murphy. “It just opens everything up for us, and we need to continue to build upon this momentum the rest of the season.”

On offense, Hinds tallied 388 total yards, of 199 passing/189 rushing, on just 29 plays. Individually, Ferante Cowart finished the game with 214 all-purpose yards and one touchdown that came on just three punt returns and one kickoff return. The MACJC’s leading rusher Don Ragsdale finished with six carries for 95 yards and one touchdown. QB Eljah Walker was a perfect five for five, passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receivers Thomas and Shorter combined to haul in three passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, the Eagles forced two turnovers and allowed just 222 yards from the 57 plays that the Wildcats ran.

The victory improves the overall record of the No. 16 ranked Hinds Eagles to 4-1 on the season, and 2-1 in the MACJC South Division.

Next up for Hinds will be the Coahoma Community College Tigers (1-3, 0-2), on Thursday, Oct. 3, at home. The cross-division matchup will serve as Hinds’ Homecoming game with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.