Seth Smith era underway at PRCC

COVID-19 or not, the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference found a way to play football during the fall despite the NJCAA moving its season to the spring.

The end result is a rivalry renewed in less than 48 hours and perhaps a program renewed as former East Central Head Coach Seth Smith gets ready to make his debut at Pearl River Community College where high-octane energy is the new standard.

LB/ S Ricco Moore said, “I mean you know whenever you’ve got that cup of coffee, you know it’s going to be a good day. That black cup of coffee, it’s going to be a good day. And he’s always just going *grunts* you feel me? That’s him. That’s him. I’m being dead serious. That’s him 24/7. He just brought that excitement. He’s that spark, and we needed that.”

From Hurley to Poplarville, Seth Smith might have changed jobs, but he, an alumnus of Pearl River Community College, hasn’t changed one bit. “(What was the first impression you had of him where you were like alright, this is the guy right here? )When he walked in the door saying, yeah!”

The first impression of champions and the first step in changing the culture of a program that has more state championships than any other school in Mississippi and yet hasn’t won any of those 19 titles since 2006. TE Jordan Foushee said, “Totally different team. Totally different coaching. Everything is just different.”

TE Jytireus Smith said, “Everybody played with their head down last year, but none of that this year. He’s turned the whole culture around.”

Coach Seth Smith said, “The big thing for us was having enough time to establish our culture. And this has been a long camp – my goodness – seven weeks. That’s a long time to hit each other. So hopefully throughout that seven weeks, we’ve had enough time to evaluate who we are, where we are and where we need to go.”

The Wildcats will answer a lot of those questions during Thursday’s season opener as they play host to defending national champion Mississippi Gulf Coast, who just so happens to be their biggest rival. DE Jaylen Glaude said, “I can’t even explain. It’s Pearl River versus Gulf Coast and that’s all I can say.”

QB Jakob Greer said, “Them winning the national championship and the big stage that they were on last year, it definitely hypes us up with them being 30 minutes down the road, so that’s in our backyard and it’s a challenge but we’re up for it.”

PRCC held its own at Gulf Coast last year, falling to the Bulldogs 25-3. Overall, the Wildcats went just 3-6, but that loss to Gulf Coast was their only defeat in their last three games. “We’ve got a chip on our shoulder. Last year didn’t go so well, but this year we’re coming.”

“One thing that we want to make sure our product on the field mirrors – is one that makes the community proud. Obviously this is a tremendous opportunity to get to come here and coach. It’s a great opportunity for these young men to get to play, so we want to make sure when these people leave, that it’s a product that they can be proud of.”

Beyond week one, nothing is guaranteed for one of the few programs in the country even getting the chance to play junior college football during the fall semester. The Wildcats have just six games total down from the typical nine to make the first year of the Coach Smith era one to remember for all the right reasons. “It’s never who you play, but it’s who you are. And that’s what Coach Smith has always told us. He came in, just control what you can control.”

“We’ve been out with Corona for so long, I could jump into the screen right now. I could jump into the screen right now. I’m just ready to hit, ready to hit.”

The Wildcats and Bulldogs will kick things off at 7 p.m. Thursday from Poplarville.

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