Jones College brings playoff mindset to Copiah-Lincoln Thursday

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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Jones College Sports Information

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s a pretty simple situation for No. 4 Jones College this week: win and they are in the MACCC playoffs.

The Bobcats dropped a 27-23 decision to No. 13 Gulf Coast last week. The defeat gives Jones a 7-1 overall record.

The Bobcats are tied with Gulf Coast and No. 11 Hinds for the top spot in the south division at 4-1. But if Jones wins this week, the Bobcats will be the south’s No. 1 seed and qualify for the MACCC playoffs, which begin Nov. 6.

The Bobcats travel to Copiah-Lincoln for a 6:30 p.m. Thursday game. The contest will air on JCJC.TV, WLAU-FM, 99.3, and with Mark Easley and Luke Johnson on the call.

Bobcat head coach Steve Buckley said his team knows what is at stake this week.

“We control our destiny,” he said Tuesday morning. “We know that and we knew that going into the one last Thursday night. We did not get it done vs. Gulf Coast, but give Gulf Coast credit. They are a good football team and they have had a lot of adversity this year. But (Gulf Coast coach) Jack (Wright) and his staff did a great job of getting their kids ready to play.

“We know the situation. Rankings don’t matter, be it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10. Right now, that’s just a number. What matters is Thursday night and putting ourselves in a position so that we can extend our season.”

Co-Lin enters the game at 3-5 overall, 3-2 in division play. The Wolves have defeated Southwest, 39-21; Pearl River, 48-15; and East Central, 20-17.

They have losses to No. 7 Northwest, 31-12; Itawamba, 30-3; Gulf Coast, 14-13; Hinds, 23-14; and top-ranked East Mississippi, 31-7.

“They are the normal Co-Lin,” Buckley said. “They are a talented, well-coached football team with a lot of speed. They lost 14-13 to Gulf Coast a few weeks ago (Gulf Coast scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play from scrimmage) and they were down only 17-7 against East Mississippi last week in the third quarter. They present a big challenge for us because they are well-coached, they can throw it and they can run it. Defensively, they are aggressive and do not give up a lot of big plays. We have to be ready to play.”

The Wolves have been led on offense by quarterback Paul Hargrave, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore from Natchez.

In last week’s loss to East Mississippi, Hargrave completed 21-of-37 passes for 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

“Their quarterback has played very well and has been consistent for them all year,” Buckley said. “He can make throws and extend plays with his legs.”

In last week’s loss to Gulf Coast, the Bobcats turned the ball over three times, including one on their own 4-yard line and another on their own 11-yard line.

The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on the next play after both of those fumbles.

“The bottom line is you can’t turn the ball over against a good football team and expect to win,” Buckley said. “We had three turnovers and they had two turnovers. They gained possession at the plus 4-yard line and plus 11-yard line and we gained possession on their two turnovers at the minus 20-yard line.

“At the same time, I thought our kids battled their tails off. We gave ourselves a chance to win it at the end and did not get it done and that’s on me. The kids played their hearts out, laid it all on the line and did everything we asked them to do.”

Buckley said the Bobcats have practiced well this week and he believes they will put forth a strong effort Thursday.

“Like I told the kids Sunday, if you did not wake up with a sick feeling on Friday morning or Saturday morning or even Sunday morning, then something is wrong with you,” he said. “Yesterday (Monday), we had a great day and put it behind us. The kids responded and we had a very upbeat and fast-paced practice. I expect the same thing today.”

Hinds travels to Pearl River on Thursday and Gulf Coast hosts Southwest on Saturday.   In the north division, East Mississippi will be the top seed and Northwest will be No. 2.

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