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No. 2 Jones welcomes Southwest Miss. Saturday

Jones College football coach Steve Buckley and his Bobcats (5-0) will host Southwest...
Jones College football coach Steve Buckley and his Bobcats (5-0) will host Southwest Mississippi Community College (2-3) for Homecoming at 2 p.m. Saturday in Ellisville, Miss.(WDAM)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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Jones College Sports Information

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) – The Jones College Bobcats are ranked No. 2 in the country – their highest ranking since 2013.

But Jones head coach Steve Buckley said his team has plenty of room for improvement.

“I could show you 62 plays where it looked like we’ve never been coached,” Buckley said after reviewing film of last week’s 28-13 victory over Hinds Community College.

“The players have to be accountable for their actions on the field. The coaches are on the sidelines and can’t get between the lines. The players are between the lines and they have to do what they are coached to do. Until they do that, we are not going to be a good football team.”

The Bobcats (5-0), who lead the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference’s South Division with a 2-0 mark, welcome Southwest Mississippi Community College (2-3, 0-2) Saturday for Homecoming on the Ellisville campus.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. The game will air on JCJC.TV with Mark Easley and Luke Johnson on the call.

Under the direction of first-year head coach Cliff Collins, the Bears opened the year with a 41-35 win over Itawamba Community College before dropping three consecutive games: 49-7 to No. 6 East Mississippi; 39-21 to Copiah-Lincoln Community College and 21-13 to East Central Community College.

Southwest snapped the streak with a 17-12 victory at Mississippi Delta Community College last week.

“Cliff does a good job and we’ve played him plenty of times in the six years we’ve been here from his days at East Mississippi,” Buckley aid. “Southwest is an athletic group and they are going to put speed on the field. They’ve got good schemes and we had better be ready to play.”

Last week, Hinds took the opening kickoff and drove 45 yards in nine plays. But on the 10th play of the drive, Bobcat Lardarius Webb Jr. returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown.

On its next possession, the Eagles went 69 yards in 13 plays, but missed on a 39-yard field attempt.

The Bobcat offense did not run its first play from scrimmage until the 3 minutes, 39 seconds mark of the first quarter and still led 7-0.

Buckley said he never had experienced that as a coach.

“We played 23 plays on defense before the offense took the field,” he said. “We could not get off the field defensively. I have never been in a more lopsided game in 28 years of coaching where we did not have the ball.”

The Bobcats managed to take a 14-0 lead when quarterback Quaterius Hawkins ran 26 yards for a touchdown with 4:38 to play in the half.

But still Buckley was concerned about the lack of plays his offense had in the opening half.

“It was not the offense’s fault or the defense’s fault – it was the fault of both,” he said. “The defense has got to get off the field and the offense has got to sustain drives.

“That was the disappointing thing. At one point, they had run 38 plays and we had run seven in the first half. They had 45 plays in the first half and we had 21. That’s a big swing in terms of production and your kids are on the field defensively for so many snaps.

“But we overcame it and got the win, and that was the main objective.”

The Bobcats took a 21-0 lead in the third quarter when wide receiver Bud Tolbert hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass.

After the Eagles cut the lead to 21-13, Tolbert came back with an 84-yard touchdown pass from Hawkins. Tolbert had two catches for 129 yards and two scores and was named the MACCC Offensive Player of the Week.

Buckley was happy to see the explosive plays, but said the Bobcats had so many other chances.

“We look at the big plays we hit, but what makes me sick are the ones that we missed,” he said. “We had our chances and it’s something we have worked on – like getting the ball out of our hands quickly. But if it was not the quarterback, it was the (offensive) line or something else. It was just a combination of things of not doing your job. I think sometimes we try to do more than we can do.

“Our message is always just do your job and I don’t think we did our job consistently enough during that game on either side of the ball.”

For the game, Hinds ended up running 78 plays from scrimmage, compared to just 47 for Jones.

“We just do crazy stuff,” Buckley said. “We did not contain the quarterback like we are supposed to and we would play one play right and two plays wrong. Until these kids understand that you’ve got to do what you are coached to do we are not going to be successful. Good teams are going to make you pay for it and Hinds did at times.

“Hinds is a good football team and we knew that going into the game. I thought we did some good things, but we also did some horrible things.”

In last week’s game, running back La’Damian Webb had his fifth 100-yard game of the year, rushing 23 times for 125 yards.

Webb has 745 yards rushing on the season, which tops the NJCAA. He averages 149.0 yards per game, which is second in the nation.

Defensively last week, linebacker Drew Horton had 13 tackles, one tackle for loss and half a sack. Linebacker Kenderian Dixon had nine tackles, one TFL, one sack and one quarterback hurry. Defensive backs Jervin Smith and Jaylin Simmons each had seven stops with Simmons getting a sack and a TFL.

This week is the only Saturday game of the regular season for the Bobcats.

Buckley said the team is trying to have a regular week of practice.

“We are treating it as a normal week, but we’ve changed the days,” he said. “(Tuesday) is Sunday for us and (Wednesday) will be Monday and so forth.

“But in one way it (a Saturday game) came at a good time in that maybe we get some guys healed up with a couple of extra days. At the same time, you hate to break the routine, but it is what it is and we have to adjust accordingly.”

Next week, Jones will have a short week of preparation as they will visit Pearl River Community College at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 for the 91st annual “Catfight.”

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