25 Teams in 25 Days: PRC Blue Devils

Stop number 20 on News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days is familiar territory for Jacob Owens. From alma mater to first-ever head coaching job, Pearl River Central is a special place for the former Blue Devil who has his program believing for the first time in a long time.

Head Coach Jacob Owens said, “I’ve dreamed of this moment and this opportunity that I’ve got right now in my career for a very, very long time. I’ve always wanted to be a head coach, and I’ve got that opportunity now, and it means the world to me.”

Despite winning a district championship as recently as 2015, Jacob Owens and his 15 seniors still have their work cut out for them following last year’s mark of 1-10. Strong safety/ wide receiver Damon Anderson said,  “We wanted to be like it last year, but we really didn’t put in the work for it, didn’t deserve it, honestly. The summer workouts were kind of easy, and spring was kind of easy. Everybody is like oh, it’s fun. It’s not supposed to be fun and it led to 1-10.”

Coach Owens, class of 2001, says he doesn’t talk about last season too much and even though the Blue Devils are off to another 0-2 start, the players that were here in 2017 can tell the difference and it starts with a single word. “I think the biggest thing when you come into a situation like I came into here is just trying to get them to believe.”

Defensive/offensive tackle Ethan Everett said, “That means you’ve got to have faith in everything you do. If you go in not believing, you’re going to go in and get whooped. You’ve got to believe you can do this and with faith, you can do anything.”

“You have to believe, 100 percent. You can’t even kind of believe. You’ve got to just, that’s it. That’s the truth.”

For any non-believers on the team, Owens has an alternative method to achieve the desired outcome. “I soul search about every five minutes.”

“People have cried cause he’s searching deep into your soul, he’s trying to get everything out of you. So yes sir, he’s searching deep.”

PRC’s improved conditioning didn’t do much to help the Blue Devils in a strange week two loss to Poplarville where Owens was an assistant coach for the past seven years. Based on the results of a hard fought defeat to Hancock in week one, the boys from Carriere could be a lot closer than their record might suggest. “We’ve had a lot of small victories every day. Like I said earlier, there’s a lot of things that we’re doing right and we’re doing the right way, but it just hasn’t equaled to wins yet. But with consistency, we all know and believe that it will.”

“You’ve got to earn everything. Nothing should be given to you and if it is, it’s probably not worth it.”

“No matter what is said or done about the past, we’ll still punch you in your nose on a Friday night. No doubt about it. That’s how it’s got to be. Tough, no matter the scoreboard, no matter 30 seconds in the fourth quarter. That’s how it has to be.”

Coach Owens says he played nose guard for the Blue Devils as a junior and quarterback as a senior.

Next up for PRC is a road date with Forrest County AHS scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday.

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