ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - They needed a little help, but Jones College finds itself in the MACJC playoffs for the third straight season.
And for the second straight year, the No. 7 Bobcats open the postseason against No. 10 Northwest Mississippi.
Jones is the visiting team Saturday at 2 p.m. – a battle of two top ten teams. With the final four MACJC teams all ranked inside the top 15, coach Steve Buckley believes the conference championship is up for grabs.
“It’s a new season and this is nothing new for our kids,” Buckley said. “We’ve been in the playoffs the last two years and I think our kids are seasoned for that. I think you’re seeing a young team that’s developed through the last nine ball games. We play a lot of freshmen, I think 33 in total. It’s been fun to watch the maturation process of these kids through these nine games.”
After starting the season 2-2, Bobcats have won five straight to clinch a No. 2 seed in the playoffs. North Division champions Northwest was previously ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA before falling to Itawamba 22-21 in the regular season finale.
Jones College ranks second in the nation, yielding just 10.5 points per game. The Rangers are averaging 35 points per game, led by Georgia State transfer quarterback Jack Walker who has passed for 1,876 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Benjy Parker is in his fourth season in Senatobia after previously serving as an assistant on the Bobcats’ 1998 National Championship team that finished 12-0.
"Well first of all, Benjy Parker the head coach has been doing this a long time,” Buckley said. “He spent a lot of time at Troy with Larry Blakeney, he's got a good defensive background. They're great up front on the defensive line. I think he's got four Division I starters up there. Very athletic on both sides of the ball, got a transfer quarterback in from Georgia. They just do a lot of good things. We've got our work cut out for us, same thing we had last year when we played them."
No. 13 East Mississippi visits No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast on Saturday at 7 p.m. to wrap up the MACJC semifinals. The winners of both games meet on November 9 for the conference title.