PEARL, MS (WLBT) - “I don’t communicate with nobody outside the Pirate fieldhouse,” says Pearl senior defensive end Jordan Bailey. “If you ain’t my teammate, I pretty much don’t associate with you.”
That’s how Bailey answers the question of how well he knows any of his neighboring rivals at Brandon. The hate between Pearl and Brandon can be felt on the field.
“It’s very intense,” said Pearl senior Jarvis Townsend, when asked to describe a typical game between the Pirates and Bulldogs. “We just hate each other. But at the end of the day, we’ve just got to do what we need to do to win.”
And if there’s anything worse than losing to your rival, it’s being reminded of it everyday.
“You hate having to walk off this field and not be the victor and have to put up with it for 365 days,” says Pearl head coach John Perry. Perry played in the rivalry before returning to coach at his high school alma mater.
A Pearl win Friday night would likely cause a three-way tie atop 6A-Region 3, with tiebreakers necessary to determine a district champion between Pearl, Brandon, and Oak Grove. But all that seems secondary to bragging rights for the Pirates, who are aiming to avoid a mouthful of ‘dirt’.
“Usually, the outcome of the game is Brandon being the loser and kind of eating the turf because we done put their head in the ground all night long,” says Bailey.
“We want to put something in their mouth where they cannot talk for 365 days”, says Perry. "They’re over there trying to figure out how to do the same thing to shut us up. And to me, that’s what ‘Eat Dirt’ means.
WLBT and Fox 40 will be at Pearl Friday with live previews of our Game of the Week at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00. Tune in to the End Zone during the WLBT News at 10 for highlights and a live report, then Chuck Stinson will have a full recap on the Fox 40 SportsDeck at 11.