PEARL — The Pirates went into Friday night’s Region 3 showdown with Meridian looking for revenge.
Well, they got it.
For the second week in a row, the Pirates rode running back Jamari Thompson and came away with a 42-27 win over Meridian on homecoming at Ray Rogers Stadium on Friday night.
“A gutsy performance, and our kids responded well,” said Pearl coach Justin Hunter. “Second half, we put the big boys in there and just rode the tempo. Jamari ran the ball like a grown man tonight.”
On their first possession of the game, Pearl drove right down the field and scored on a Thompson 19-yard run to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead with 7:11 left in the first quarter.
Pearl extended the lead 14-0 on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jerry Johnson to Colby Henderson with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
Meridian got on the board on a Daniel Hill 36-yard touchdown run with 1:41 left in the first quarter to cut the Pearl lead to 14-7.
Hill added a 20-yard touchdown run with 4:10 left in the second quarter, but a missed extra point still gave Pearl the lead 14-13.
After Meridian got an interception on their own two-yard line, Hill took the snap and ran to the left and scampered 98 yards to the end zone to give the Wildcats a 19-14 lead with 2:05 left in the second quarter.
Pearl responded, as Thompson scored on a 10-yard run with 48 seconds left in the first half to take a 21-19 lead.
The Pirates scored on their first drive of the second half on a Thompson 6-yard touchdown run with 8:22 left in the third quarter.
Thompson added a 14-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left in the third quarter to extend the Pearl lead to 35-19.
Jonathan Vaughn scored on a 3-yard touchdown run for Meridian to cut the Pearl lead to 35-27 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Jerry Johnson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:20 left to give Pearl the 42-27 lead.
“Huge win for us,” Hunter said. “Jamari is our bell cow and did what we asked him to do. He just took over the game. To start 2-0 in this region is huge, and there’s no off weeks.”
Thompson finished the night with 268 yards on 33 carries with four touchdowns to lead Pearl (5-1, 2-0 Region 3-6A).
“The whole theme this week has been revenge, and coach wanted us to keep up with tempo the whole game,” Thompson said. “We didn’t want to lose this game and we just kept capitalizing all night.”
Hill had 158 yards with three touchdowns to lead Meridian (4-2, 1-1).
“We made too many mistakes lining up on offense and just at frustrating night for us,” said Meridian coach John Douglass. “Hats off to Pearl, they played really well tonight. Our kids played hard and responded, but didn’t get the stops we needed.”
Both teams continue Region 3-6A play next week as Meridian hosts Oak Grove, while Pearl travels to Terry.
(Feature photo by Keith Warren)