ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - It turned to be quite the homecoming weekend at Jones College.
The school’s men’s and women’s soccer teams earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College state crowns while hosting the tournament and the football team clinched its second consecutive South Division title.
It marked the first time since 2004 that both the men and the women hosted the MACJAC state tournament in the same year at Bobcat Soccer Field, and both took advantage of the homefield turf.
The Bobcats (14-2) won the school’s first-ever men’s soccer title with 2-1 overtime victory over Southwest Mississippi Community College, setting a record for single-season wins in the process.
The 16th-ranked Lady Bobcats (13-2) posted a first-time three-peat, winning the state crown for a third consecutive season with a 6-1 victory over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Jones College opened semifinal play Saturday, taking down Itawamba Community College 2-1 on goals by Justis Casey and Adrian Mondragon.
The Indians had grabbed a 1-0 lead, but Casey’s goal off an assist by Mondragon tied the game, and then Mondragon’s long kick found the bottom corner of the goal.
In Sunday night’s final, the Bobcats followed a similar script, falling behind Southwest 1-0 before clawing back for a dramatic overtime victory.
Steven Caston’s header tied the game off an assist by Thomas Carlile.
“They go ahead and we had to dig deep again,” Jones head coach Brendan Connolly said. “Steven Caston came off the bench and had a great moment – a great goal.”
Then, 34 seconds into overtime, Carlile’s goal set off a championship-worthy celebration.
“Tom has been scoring goals all year and did so at the end –a golden goal,” Connolly said. “We are just really happy right now. I think this is the seventh come-from-behind win we’ve had this season. That just shows the hunger and desire these boys had. I could not be any prouder of them.”
Callum Harley was in goal for Jones and had another stellar effort.
The win assures the Bobcats of a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association district playoffs in early November.
It also means Jones will host the Region 23 Tournament later this week.
Regardless of what happens the remainder of postseason play, Connolly the future is very bright for men’s soccer at Jones.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Connolly said. “We are all set up here to be successful and that’s what we want to do here from now on.
“We did not really set that goal (state championship) at the start of the year. We just wanted to have a good season and improve all of the time. I think a couple of weeks into the season we figured out we were a good team. We just kept getting better.
The 16th-ranked Lady Bobcats won their third consecutive state title with convincing 6-1 wins in both the semifinals and championship matches.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Jones women’s soccer coach Dolores Deasley, who won her fifth title in 11 years with the Lady Bobcats. “We set our minds early, as we always do, to win a championship.
“This one is extra special because it’s the first time to bring home a three-peat.”
Mikayla Banks collected a hat trick with three goals in a 6-1 victory over Pearl River Community College (8-8-1) in Saturday’s semifinal.
Aimee Durn, Esmeralda and Rachel Barnaby added goals for the Lady Bobcats.
In the championship match, Durn scored twice and assisted on a third goal as JC spotted Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College a 1-0 lead before roaring back with six unanswered scores.
Durn’s penalty kick tied the score, and then she assisted on Mary Ann Kennedy’s go-ahead goal.
Banks made the score 3-1 with an assist from Barnaby. The Lady Bobcats closed the match with a three-goal barrage in a span of 7 minutes, 5 seconds, as Durn, Figueroa and Barnaby all found the back of the net.
Alexis Wilson was in goal for the entire game for the Lady Bobcats.
“This group has been an absolute joy, probably one of my favorite groups, on and off the field,” Deasley said. “They are a lovely wee bunch. They are fun and energetic.
“We’ve got a lot of freshmen, so I was not quite sure we had the maturity to pull us through. But, game by game, they kept proving themselves and proving me wrong, and that was always good. Hat’s off to them. They came out to win and prove a point, and they keep doing it.”
Freshman Kalyn Grandberry, who came into Saturday night tied for the MACJC’s rushing lead, rolled for 189 yards two touchdowns on 20 carries as the No. 7 Bobcats clinched the South Division with a 28-23 victory over No. 15 Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett (4 yards) and Grandberry (6 yards) ran for touchdowns as Jones (7-1, 5-0) took a 14-3 lead at halftime.
Late in the third quarter, after a partially blocked punt set up Co-Lin at Jones' 7-yard, the Wolves (5-3, 4-1) cut the advantage to 14-10 on Hayden Davis’ 5-yard pass to Malik Heath.
But moments later, Grandberry broke up the sideline, cut diagonally across the field at about the 30, and rambled 77 yards to give the Bobcats a 21-10 lead with just seconds left in the third period.
Co-Lin got back within four points again on Davis’ 29-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Robinson, but JC’s Donte Edwards boosted the lead to 28-17 on a 2-yard touchdown run, offsetting a late Wolves’ TD on a 1-yard run by Rico Owens.
Jones will host the North Division’s No. 2 team to open the MACJC payoffs on Nov. 3 . The North’s No. 2 will be the winner of Thursday’s game between fifth-ranked Northwest and Itawamba community colleges.
Co-Lin, the South’s No. 2, will visit top-ranked East Mississippi Community College on Nov. 3.