ICC falls to Pearl River in home opener, 35-31

ICC falls to Pearl River in home opener, 35-31

FULTON, Miss. – After a late rally to beat Pearl River last season, the ICC football team saw the Wildcats return the favor with a 35-31 victory after scoring inside 30-seconds left in the game on Thursday.

Pearl River (1-0) scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 16.4 seconds left in the game to take a 35-31 advantage. The Indians (0-1) quickly advanced the ball near midfield and connected on a jump ball but the Wildcats quickly made the tackle after time had expired to pick up the come-from-behind victory.

Clark Mills (Ecru) found Qua Tucker (Dadeville, Ala.) on a 41-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game, but missed the extra point. Pearl River answered with a one-yard scoring run and a successful extra point to take a 7-6 lead with 6:40 left in the first quarter.

Tucker finished the game with 134 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.

The Indians regained the lead when Memphis commit Sylvonta Oliver (Sardis) returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown while Skylar Grissom (Fulton) added the extra point to give ICC a 13-7 lead with 2:48 left until halftime. Pearl River answered again with a 29-yard touchdown pass to sneak into the break with a 14-13 lead.

Grissom connected on one of three field goal attempts and two of three extra point attempts.

Mills found Damien Ealy (Nettleton) on a 34-yard touchdown pass and hit Hiram Wadlington (Oxford) on a quick pass for the two-point conversion to take a 21-14 advantage at the 3:48 mark of the third quarter. Pearl River recovered an on-side kick attempt and cashed in on the first play from scrimmage with a 46-yard scoring toss to tie the game 21-21 with 3:35 left.

Grissom connected on a 32-yard field to give the Indians a 24-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats answered with a 10-yard run to retake the lead, 28-24, with 4:41 left in the final frame. The Indians answered on the ensuing drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Mills to Barry Flowers (Batesville) to take a 31-28 lead after Grissom's extra point before Pearl River's late game-winning touchdown.

Mills completed 24 of 42 passing for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Wadlington rushed for 89 yards on 15 carries and hauled in three catches for 22 yards on the night.

The Indians allowed 434 yards of total offense (254 passing; 180 rushing). Peyton Rea (Madison) led the way with 11 tackles while Kenneth Martin (Columbus) added seven tackles. Oliver added six tackles to go along with his 60-yard interception return.

ICC will look to rebound against East Central (0-1) on Thursday night. The Warriors dropped a 26-13 decision to No. 9 Northwest (1-0) last week. East Central totaled 264 yards of offense led by freshman quarterback Holman Edwards, who accounted for 142 yards (126 passing; 16 rushing). The game will be available on SuperTalk Mississippi (101.9 FM) and LetsGoICCTV.com/red starting with the Davis Ford Pregame Show at 6:00 p.m.

For more information on ICC football, follow ICC Athletics on Twitter (@LetsGoICC).