By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – The battle of top 10 NJCAA football powers lived up to the hype here on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
The 9th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats rallied from a 19-point, fourth quarter deficit to stun the 4th-rated Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves, 50-47.
The Bobcats scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including three in the final 6:28 to pull out the victory. With no time outs and trailing 47-43, JCJC had the ball on the Co-Lin 1-yard line. Short-yardage quarterback Qua Boyd took it in for the winning score with just 18.4 seconds left to play.
JCJC piled up 594 yards of total offense, including 445 through the air. Starter Steven Swindle was 21-42-1 for 317 yards, but Kenny Coleman came off the bench to go 10-15-1 for 128 yards and led JCJC on the game-winning drive. Running back Justin Harris also had a huge day, rushing 15 times for 100 yards and three scores.
Wide receiver Quartez Cooks had nine catches for 128 yards, while Rodregus Ducksworth had five receptions for 113 yards and JaMicheal Willis had six catches for 99 yards.
Co-Lin had 479 yards. Quarterback Daniel Fitzwater was 26-41-2 for 370 yards, while receiver Casey Gladney had 11 catches for 172 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bobcats are now 5-0 overall and are in sole possession of first place in the MACJC South Division at 3-0. Co-Lin falls to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in league play.
JCJC continues league play with a 6:30 p.m. game on Thursday at East Central Community College. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv and on WLAU-FM, 99.3.
The Wolves host Itawamba on Thursday.
The Bobcats got off to a bad start against the Wolves.
Co-Lin defensive back Arthur Maulet intercepted a Swindle pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown on the game's opening possession. Blayne Jones' extra point made it 7-0 with 13:55 showing in the first quarter.
The Wolves took a 14-0 lead on their first possession of the game when they drove 86 yards in nine plays. Gladney caught a 37-yard scoring pass from Fitzwater. Jones' PAT made it 14-0 with 8:34 left in the opening quarter.
JCJC got on the board when they drove 62 yards in 10 plays and got a 27-yard field goal by Grant McLaurin with 6:57 left. The big play in the drive was a 59-yard pass from Swindle to Ducksworth.
But the Wolves came back with a 78-yard, 14-play march for a touchdown. Kelton Smith scored from a yard out with 19.1 seconds left in the first quarter. The extra point failed, but Co-Lin held a 20-3 lead.
Jones then took the ensuing kickoff and moved 69 yards in seven plays. Boyd got the touchdown on a 3-yard keeper. McLaurin's extra point made it 20-10 with 13:38 left in the first half.
The Bobcat defense set up the next score when Charles Lewis got an interception off a deflected pass caused by teammate Marcus Betts at the Co-Lin 35-yard line. Jones drove to the Co-Lin 14 where the drive stalled. McLaurin's 31-yard field goal made it 20-13 with 10:58 left in the second quarter.
The JCJC defense set up the next touchdown when Steven Eddings recovered a Co-Lin fumble at his own 28.
The Bobcats then drove 72 yards in eight plays for the touchdown. Harris got the score on a 5-yard run, but the extra point failed and the Wolves still led 20-19 with 4:50 left in the first half. A 30-yard pass to Willis and a 34-yard pass to Cooks were the big plays of the drive.
But Co-Lin took the ensuing kickoff and moved 65 yards in eight plays. Van Lee's 2-yard touchdown run ended the drive. Jones' PAT made it 27-19 with 49.9 seconds left, which was plenty of time for the Bobcats to strike.
JCJC went from its own 35 to the Co-Lin 5 in four plays. Two pass interference penalties and "targeting" personal foul penalty against the Wolves helped to get the Bobcats in position for a score.
McLaurin's 22-yard field goal as time expired made it 27-22.
Co-Lin came out quickly in the third quarter.
The Wolves took the second half kickoff and went 75 yards in 11 plays. Fitzwater connected with Gladney from 2 yards out for the touchdown. Jones' extra point made it 34-22 with 9:40 remaining.
On Co-Lin's next possession they drove 53 yards in just four plays. This time Fitzwater found Gladney for a 38-yard scoring strike. Jones' extra point gave Co-Lin a 41-22 lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
But JCJC would not be denied in the final quarter.
First, they drove 48 yards in four plays. Wide receiver Jarret Smith scored on a two-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter. The big play of the drive was a 41-yard pass from Swindle to Willis. McLaurin's extra point made it 41-29 with 14:56 remaining in the game.
A couple of possessions later, the Bobcats drove 75 yards in six plays behind Coleman. Harris ended the drive with a 13-yard scoring run and McLaurin's extra point made it 41-36 with 6:28 left.
The Bobcat defense forced a ‘three and out' and Jones began its next possession at its own 33. From there, they marched 67 yards in just seven plays. Harris did the honors again, this time from 22 yards away. McLaurin's extra point gave JCJC its first lead of the day at 43-41 with 4:06 left.
The Wolves then took over at their own 25. Later, they faced a fourth and 10 at the JCJC 45. Fitzwater appeared to overthrow Gladney down the middle. But somehow Gladney managed a one-handed catch in stride and took it into the end zone for a touchdown to end the 75-yard, six-play drive. The pass for two failed, but the Wolves were on top at 47-43 with 2:27 remaining – a lot of time for the Bobcat to respond.
Smith got the Bobcats in great position when he returned the Co-Lin kickoff 39 yards to the Wolfpack 48.
Eight plays later, Boyd went over from a yard out to give JCJC the lead again. McLaurin's extra point made it 50-47.
Co-Lin had one final shot from its own 40 with seven seconds left. They tried the ‘hook and lateral' with Fitzwater finding Gladney, who lateraled to De'Vante Nichols, who made it to the JCJC 25 before he was tackled on the game's final play.