Pearl River honors life, legacy of former captain Cayce Seal
The forecast had looked gloomy for more than a week. Rain, rain and more rain was in the future for Poplarville and Pearl River Community College on Friday. After plenty of conversations about possibly rescheduling Cayce Seal Night or potentially relocating PRCC’s doubleheader against Meridian to the Wildcat’s turf football field, Cayce Seal’s father said repeatedly that if it was going to rain, that was just God’s will.
As Friday progressed, rain moved out of the Pine Belt. The sky cleared and it ultimately ended up being a perfect evening in Poplarville, complete with a beautiful sunset.
While addressing the large crowd, mostly adorned in maroon “36 Seal” jerseys, it was clear why Doug Seal was unwavering on his wish to host his son’s ceremony at the soccer field.
“This was my son’s ‘Field of Dreams,'” he said, standing a few steps to the side of the white “36” painted at midfield on the Pearl River field.
Following the ceremony, which included speeches from Doug Seal, PRCC men’s soccer coach Drew Gallant, and a shadowbox presentation with PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood and PRCC Athletics Director Scotty Fletcher, the Wildcats honored their former captain with a hard-fought victory he would have been proud to be a part of. After going into the half deadlocked, No. 6 Pearl River netted two goals to claim the 3-1 victory at the PRCC Soccer Complex.
“Just look at the ceremony and all of the people who came for it,” Gallant said. “That just shows you what kind of person that he was. All these people came out to support him and show love for him. The family that he has and the people who showed up tonight tells you just how great that he was.”
Pearl River (4-0-1 overall; 3-0 MACCC South Division) seemed as if it had gotten off to a great start in the 13th minute. Ryley Smith (Manchester, England; Castlebrook) sent a shot towards the net, but it ricocheted off Harper Baggett (Ocean Springs) and was ruled offside.
The Wildcats created a few more chances but could not capitalize.
In the 29th minute, the Wildcats saw themselves concede and fall behind for the first time this season, breaking the scoreless streak at 309 minutes.
Meridian (4-2; 1-2) booted a ball to the Wildcat back line and it made its way into the box where an Eagle forward tracked it down, netting the first goal of the night.
Jason Irias (D’Iberville) knotted the game up at one each in the 39th minute. Alex Emery (Gulfport; West Harrison) was up in the formation and crossed a ball through the box finding Irias just on the outside. Irias took just one step and put it past the goalkeeper at the near post.
The Wildcats and Eagles entered halftime all tied up 1-1.
PRCC picked up another goal in the 55th minute courtesy of a Meridian defender. Irias’ free kick was headed by an Eagle who placed it into the right side of the net, putting the Wildcats ahead 2-1.
Pearl River added the last goal of the night in the 78th minute.
Baggett received a lofted ball from the back line and raced around the Eagle right back and sent a ball along the ground to the far post to make the PRCC advantage 3-1.
HOW TO DONATE
Pearl River has set up the Cayce Seal Memorial Scholarship fund. Donations are welcomed and can be made by check, PayPal, or over the phone. In order to pay by check, mail the donation to PRCC Foundation, ATTN: Cayce Seal Memorial Scholarship, P.O. Box 5389, Poplarville, Miss. 39470. To pay by PayPal, send payments to firstname.lastname@example.org with Cayce Seal Memorial Scholarship Fund in the notes of the donation. Call Shana Breerwood at 601-403-1182 to donate over the phone.
Pearl River returns to action on Tuesday as they travel to Copiah-Lincoln. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.