• John Macon Gillespie

PRC Enters Playoffs at 'Shane Speed'

'It has been 20 years since the last division title for Pearl River Central High School. They were able to do just that in recent weeks.

After traveling to Hattiesburg and defeating Hattiesburg High three weeks ago the Blue Devils were crowned. However, they were not done making history. In fact, it had also been 20 years since they had defeated Picayune High School. Would you believe it? They were able to get that done just a week after winning their division, and again, they did it on the road.

At 10-1, you won’t find many teams in the Magnolia state who have put together a more impressive season than the Blue Devils.

I recently spoke with PRC junior quarterback Wyatt Davis. He told me that most of the guys on the team have been playing together since they were five years old. Further, he explained to me that the team spends a lot of their time outside of football hanging out together. On Thursdays before games most of the team goes out and eats together.

“The team has a bond and camaraderie that you usually don’t see amongst teams,” Davis told me.

Success and the closeness of the team is not all that makes Pearl River Central special this season, though. Davis showed me a picture of two his teammates carrying a number 15 jersey.

“What’s the story on your teammates carrying that jersey?” I asked.

He told me that it had belonged to a former PRC player who had started last last season at

outside linebacker as a freshman. However, he explained that he had died this past summer in a car accident. His name was Shane Smith.

Davis briefly explained to me that Smith had been a go-getter and that he and his teammates had dedicated their season to him.

“Everything we do, we do it with Shane speed because everything Shane did he went full speed,” Davis said.

Losing a teammate makes getting tackled seem so much less frightening. It also can bring a team together. After talking to Davis, there’s no question it has done just that for the Blue Devils.

“All the hard work and adversity we faced to get us here, we did it for 15,” said Davis.

I asked Davis what moment had excited him the most this season and he told me the win over Hattiesburg. The feeling of finally accomplishing something they set out to do before each season was exciting, sure. I asked him what moment had made him most proud this season and he told me beating Picayune because of all the support of their fans and people who had been waiting so long for. But, he was also quick to remind me that the season is far from over.

Davis is right. His team will again get a shot to get another big win on the road this week when they open their 5A playoff run against Natchez.

The Blue Devils really like to run the ball. They average nearly 340 yards per game on the ground. They have three players over 1,000 yards rushing on the season, led by seniors Christian Roberts(1,252) and Hunter Holifield(1,100). However, Davis is what drives the offense.

The coaches ask Davis to lead the offense, make good decisions and protect the ball. He does just that, as he has yet to throw an interception this season. If you ask him, though, you might not know he plays on the team. He is quick to give credit to his offensive line and his defense.

PRC made their debut in the SES Top 10(10th) recently in our final rankings until after the state championship games. Davis and his teammates will certainly have a say in whether or not they make that final top 10, but Shane Smith will have just as much say, in my opinion, as he watches over his teammates and friends from above.

Southern Elite Sports
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