Jones football takes on winless East Central

Jones College football coach Steve Buckley leads his fifth-ranked Bobcats against East Central...
Jones College football coach Steve Buckley leads his fifth-ranked Bobcats against East Central Community College at 7 p.m. Thursday.(WDAM 7)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 1:46 PM CDT
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Jones College Sports Information

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Unbeaten and fifth-ranked Jones College hosts winless East Central Community College at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bobcat Stadium.

But Bobcat head coach Steve Buckley expects quite a battle when Head Coach Ken Karcher’s Warriors come to town for an Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference South Division matchup.

“To me, East Central never struggles,” Buckley said. “They are well-coached with good schemes and an excellent kicking game.

“I told the team that we had better be on our ‘A’ game when they come in here on Thursday because East Central is going to play us hard.”

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

The Bobcats own wins over Itawamba Community College (44-0), No. 8 East Mississippi Community College (42-28) and Copiah-Lincoln Community College (23-17).

The Warriors have lost to Coahoma Community College (52-28), Holmes Community College (41-37) and Hinds Community College (28-23).

East Central is led on offense by quarterback Landon Sims, who has completed 37-of-61 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Devontae Causey has rushed 37 times for 167 yards and three scores.

Sims is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman from Evergreen, Ala., and Causey is a 6-foot, 170-pound freshman from Millry, Ala.

On defense, linebacker T.J. Thompson tops ECCC with 26 tackles and defensive back Treyon Wash has 23 tackles and an interception. Thompson is a 6-foot, 210-pound freshman from Warren Central and Wash is a 5-9, 160-pound freshman from Scott Central.

The Bobcats are coming off a close victory at Co-Lin.

The Wolves ended up with 450 yards of total offense and ran 78 plays. Jones had 323 yards and had 54 snaps.

Buckley said he was pleased to take a young team on the road and pick up a division victory.

“Any time you go on the road, at any level, and get a win, it’s a positive thing,” he said. “Our objective going over was to leave with a 3-0 record and we did that.

“It may seem like a small thing, but it was our first trip taking 42 guys away on a bus trip from home. We had to eat earlier and we had to dress in a different place. It does have an effect on you. That may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but it’s different.”

Jones led 10-0 at halftime and had a chance to be up even more, but fumbled the ball deep in Wolves’ territory.

Buckley said he felt his team did not execute as well offensively as it did in the first two games and the defense had trouble making stops at times.

“We started out fine and played well and had a chance to be up by more, but we fumbled the ball,” he said. “Then, we got behind the chains, which was very uncharacteristic of us in our first two games. I don’t have a lot of play calls for third and 13, third and 11 or third and 12.

“I can show you 21 plays where It would be just one player not doing his job. The other 10 would do their job, but the one player not doing his job would cause us problems. And it would be different players at different times. Defensively, we just have got to get off the field on third down.”

But there were numerous bright spots.

Running back Robert Henry of Lumberton High School scored three touchdowns, including what proved to be the game-winner, on an 18-yard run with 7 minutes, 15 seconds left in the game.

Henry ended the game with 94 yards rushing and continues to lead the National Junior College Athletic Association with 167.7 rushing yards per game. Henry’s10 touchdowns also lead the country.

Defensive back Ty Rawls made two crucial plays for the Bobcats’ defense.

First, with the game tied at 10-10 and Co-Lin threatening to take the lead, Rawls picked off a pass in the end zone for a touchback with 12:57 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats would then proceed to drive 80 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Next, with the Wolves in position to tie the game and possibly win it at the end, Rawls made a tackle at the Jones’ 6-yard line as time expired.

“Ty made two big plays for us with the pick and the tackle at the end,” Buckley said. “What more can you ask for than what he did?”

Jones turns its attention now to East Central and Buckley said the Bobcats must continue to grow and progress.

“It’s like I’ve said since the summer, when our new and younger guys mature, we are going to be a good football team,” he said.

The Bobcats go on the road to Raymond for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 29 to take on Hinds Community College.

Hall of Fame

Thursday will be Hall of Fame Day at Jones College.

Former softball pitcher Ginger Lonergan, former basketball player Pauline Love and former football player Anthony Maddox will be inducted into the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame.

A meal for the inductees and their guests will be served at 5 p.m. in the Banquet Hall of the C.L. Neill Student Center and the inductees will be recognized during halftime of the football game.

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