Jones College football opens road schedule

Jones College football coach Steve Buckley will lead his Bobcats to Wesson, Miss., to take on...
Jones College football coach Steve Buckley will lead his Bobcats to Wesson, Miss., to take on Copiah-Lincoln Community Collège at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 1:05 PM CDT
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Jones College Sports Information

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Sixth-ranked Jones College will begin Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference South Division play Thursday night.

The Bobcats (2-0) wil hit the road for the first time this football season, heading to Wesson to take on Copiah-Lincoln Community College (1-1) at 6:30 p.m. at H.L. Stone Stadium.

The game will air on JCJC.TV, WLAU-FM, 99.3 and SuperTalkLaurel.com with Mark Easley and Luke Johnson on the call.

Jones is averaging 43 points per game after two games.

The Bobcats pasted Itawamba Community College 44-0 in the season’s opening game before following up last week with a 42-28 win over previously fifth-ranked East Mississippi Community College.

But both wins came on home turf in Ellisville, and JC head coach Steve Buckley said he knows the challenge ahead on the road for the first time.

“We have 42 new guys and it’s their first time to take a road trip with us, so it will be different,” Buckley said. “We are going to eat a little bit earlier, we’re going to get on a bus, drive an hour and a half, and get dressed in a foreign place. We are going to be in a different environment than we’ve had here the last two weeks.”

The Wolves, who lost their opening game 38-3 at East Mississippi before rebounding with a 37-7 win at Mississippi Delta Community Collège last week, will be playing at home for the first time this season.

Co-Lin quarterback Devon Tott has completed 47 percent of his passes for 429 yards and two scores.

Running backs Kyjuan Herndon and Johnnie Daniels pace the ground game and wideout Tyquan Henderson has nine catches. Defensive back Ques McNeal, linebacker Ja’Len Sims and lineman Nate White lead the Co-Lin defense.

In last week’s victory over EMCC, Buckley said the Bobcats concentrated on themselves and overcoming obstacles.

“Going into the game it was, ‘Let’s not worry about East Mississippi, let’s worry about Jones,’” he said.

Buckley said he and the team are taking the same approach this week.

“It’s like I told the team (Sunday) night, let’s not focus on Co-Lin, let’s focus on Jones.” Buckley said. “We just need to clean up some things and we have to understand that this will be a different Thursday.”

Buckley said he also has been emphasizing mental toughness to his young squad.

“The second thing we talk about a lot is overcoming adversity,” he said. “In a football game, bad things are going to happen. I don’t care how prepared you are, how good you are or how bad you are. Bad things are just going to happen and it’s all about how you respond and how you overcome it.”

Buckley pointed out early in last week’s game that the Lions blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. But on the ensuing kickoff, Trent Howell of George County High School returned it 75 yards to the EMCC 18-yard line.

Running back Robert Henry, a Lumberton High School product, scored on the next play.

“We had a poor snap, they block a punt and scoop and score,” he said. “But the kickoff team responds with a 75-yard return. So, those are things to build on. I don’t think we played sloppy, but I thought we made some mistakes at times that we can’t make. I think they are all easily cleaned up.”

Another example of “not giving up” came in the third quarter.

Bobcats quarterback Alan Follis of West Jones High School was intercepted, and it appeared the pick would be returned for a Lions touchdown.

Follis had other ideas.

“I thought we had some great life lessons and some great football lessons in that game,” Buckley said. “We had a chance to put our head between our legs and not respond, but we responded.

“A great example of that was when Alan threw the pick on the second possession of the second half, but he went and chased the guy down at the 4-yard line.”

Henry had another memorable game, rushing 31 times for 219 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 18 yards, 9 yards and 69 yards.

Henry was named the MACCC’s “Offensive Player of the Week” for the second week in a row.

Henry has run for 409 yards and seven touchdowns and leads the National Junior College Athletic Association by averaging 204.5 rushing yards per game. NJCAA’s second-leading rusher is averaging 107.0 yards per game.

Henry also is tied for the top spot nationally with seven touchdowns.

“Robert’s playing pretty good right now and it doesn’t surprise us,” Buckley said. “I said at the beginning of the year that he is in line with (former Bobcat running backs) Scottie (Phillips), Kalyn (Grandberry) and La’Damian (Webb). I think he’s carried it 50 times in two ballgames and we have to be careful with him. I thought he had the hot hand the other night.

“I thought he ran better last week than he did the previous week when he did a bunch of sideway stuff. That’s something you can get away with in high school, but you can’t get away with a bunch of sideway stuff in this league.”

Defensively, Travor Randle had a huge game out of the secondary.

The 5-foot-9, 197-pound, third-year sophomore had seven tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Buckley said it’s important to have someone like Randle on your team.

“Travor is the ‘Grandpa’ of our team,” he said. “I tell people all the time that you want him on your team. We had the blitz and he caused a fumble and he had the pick six. Travor just shows up. I don’t care about how tall he is or all that stuff – he is just a football player. Travor has played a lot of snaps for us and he’s a darn good football player.”

The Bobcats had issues on special teams, having a punt and extra point blocked, to go along with two other missed extra points.

But Buckley said he remains confident in his two kickers, Yohan Thompson and Brody Pierce.

“We have two good kickers,and there is nothing wrong with our kickers,” Buckley said.

“We know both Yohan and Brody can kick. They know they are good kickers and they are well-trained. They have been training to kick their whole (lives) with kicking gurus and they know what to do. They just have to take their knowledge of how to kick and take it to the gamefield.”

The Bobcats return home next week to face East Central Community College at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22.

The Bobcats will celebrate “Hall of Fame Night,” as the school will induct Ginger Lonergan, Pauline Love and Anthony Maddox into the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame.

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