Bobcats break away from East Mississippi, 42-28

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 12:31 AM CDT
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Jones College Sports Information

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - In a game with twists and turns, the 9th-ranked Jones College Bobcats made an early season statement Thursday night at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.

Robert Henry (Lumberton) rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns to help the Bobcats (2-0) to a 42-28 victory over 5th-rated East Mississippi (1-1). Through two games, Henry has 409 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

It was Jones’ first win over EMCC since a 27-25 decision in 2016.

Aside from Henry, there were numerous other heroes for the Bobcats.

Defensive back Travor Randle (Greenwood) had seven tackles, one sack, one TFL, one forced fumble and returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown.

Defensive back Jamison Kelly (Columbia) and linebacker Ricky Willis (Harrison Central) each had eight tackles. Cornerback Lardarius Webb Jr. (Jackson Academy) picked off his second pass of the season.

Wide receiver Qua Sanders (West Lowndes) had eight receptions for 43 yards, wide receiver Ashton Nickelberry (Brandon) had three receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown and wide receiver Kendall Coleman (Choctaw Central) had three catches for 38 yards and a score.

The Bobcats had 22 first downs, 220 rushing yards, 174 yards passing and 394 yards of total offense. EMCC had 16 first downs, 90 rushing yards, 206 yards passing and 296 yards of total offense.

The Bobcats got off to a solid start, driving 60 yards in 12 plays on its opening possession. Yohan Thompson (Adams County Christian School) booted a 27-yard field goal to give Jones a 3-0 lead with 8:05 to play in the opening quarter.

But EMCC would use a big play from special teams to take the lead. The Lions blocked a Bobcat punt and Jamori Evans returned it 13 yards for a score. Cole Arthur’s PAT gave EMCC a 7-3 lead with 3:22 left in the first quarter.

Jones followed up quickly with a big play of its own from special teams.

Trent Howell (George County) took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 75 yards to the Lions’ 18-yard line.

On the very next play, Henry took it the distance and Thompson’s conversion made it 10-7 with 3:02 left in the first quarter.

Jones would then use a big special teams play of its own to set up the next score.

André Mack (Madison Central) blocked a punt and Kelly recovered at the EMCC 17.

Two plays later, Henry scored on a 9-yard run. But the extra point attempt was blocked and the Bobcats led 16-7 with 14:17 left in the first half.

The Lions moved into Jones territory on its next possession, but turned the ball over on downs at the Bobcat 37.

Jones would then move 63 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Quarterback Alan Follis (West Jones) connected with Coleman for a 22-yard scoring strike. The extra point attempt failed and the Bobcats led 22-7 with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bobcat defense then put points on the board on the next EMCC possession.

Randle picked off a Parrish pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. Brody Pierce (Starkville Academy) booted the extra point and Jones led 29-7 with 6:46 remaining in the first half.

But the Lions would make it close in the third quarter.

EMCC’s Steven Cattledge Jr. forced a fumble and Devonyal Lofton recovered at the Bobcat 14.

Five plays later, Amariyon Howard scored from a yard out and Arthur’s extra point made it 29-14 with 12:30 to play in the third quarter.

EMCC’s defense forced another turnover when Laurence Sullivan Jr. intercepted a pass and returned it 51 yards to the Jones’ 2-yard line.

Ethan Conner scored on the next play and Arthur’s extra point made it 29-21 with 9:31 remaining in the third quarter.

But Henry would come through in major fashion on JC’s next series.

Facing a 3rd and 14 at their own 31, the Bobcats handed the ball to Henry who scampered 69 yards for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was no good and Jones led 35-21 with 8:07 left in the third quarter.

EMCC would then drive the ball into Jones territory on its next possession, but would turn the ball over on downs.

But on the Lions’ next possession, they would march 73 yards in 13 plays for a touchdown. Howard did the honors again, this time from 3 yards away. Arthur’s extra point made it 35-28 with 13:45 left in the game.

Two possessions later, Jones would use a quick strike to expand the lead.

The Bobcats took over at its own 45 after a Lion punt. On the next play, quarterback DJ Smith (Greenville Christian) connected with Nickelberry on a 55-yard touchdown pass. Pierce’s PAT ended the scoring with 9:30 remaining.

Jones opens MACCC South Division with a 6:30 p.m. contest at Copiah-Lincoln on Sept. 15. East Mississippi visits Holmes on Sept. 15.

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