ELLISVILLE – Everything fell into place for the 9th-rated Jones College Bobcats.
Jones put together a solid all-around game and defeated East Central Community College 35-13 here Thursday night at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
Shortly before the conclusion of the Bobcat victory, top-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast beat No. 6 Hinds, 31-21.
Those two outcomes clinched second place in the MACJC South Division for the Bobcats.
Jones ends regular season play at 7-2 overall, 5-1 in the division. MGCCC is 9-0 and 6-0.
The Bobcats will now travel to face No. 2 Northwest on Nov. 2 in the opening round of the MACJC playoffs. The Rangers will be the top seed in the North, despite dropping a 22-21 decision to Itawamba on Thursday.
In the other semifinal game on Nov. 2, MGCCC will host either No. 17 East Mississippi or Itawamba. If the Lions defeat Northeast on Saturday, then they will be the No. 2 team out of the North. If Northeast upsets EMCC, Itawamba will be the No. 2 seed from the North and will travel to MGCCC.
The MACJC championship game will be Nov. 9.
The heroes were many for the Bobcats in the win over the Warriors.
Running back Ladamian Webb (Opelika, Alabama) was not scheduled to play because of an ankle injury. But running back Kalyn Grandberry (Memphis, Tennessee) was injured in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
Webb ended up with 102 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown – all in the second half. Grandberry had piled up 82 yards on 11 carries and two scores in the first half. Running back Malik Shelley (Vicksburg) rushed 14 times for 55 yards as the Bobcats piled up 268 yards on the ground.
Jones had 444 yards of total offense and 23 first downs, while ECCC had 260 yards and 11 first downs.
Quarterback Fred Barnum (Warren Central) was 12-of-22 for 129 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Bud Tolbert (Water Valley) had four catches for 52 yards and wide receiver Manny Jones (Amory) had five catches for 29 yards and a touchdown and also added a 33-yard punt return to set up another score.
Defensively, linebacker Mike Cockream (Ray Brooks) and lineman Zach Causey (Madison Central) each had seven tackles and ½ tackle for loss. Linebacker Kenderian Dixon (Yazoo County) had six tackles and ½ TFL and back Rakeim Ashford (Choctaw County) had six tackles. Linebacker Daylen Gill (Louisville) had six tackles, ½ TFL and a pass interception return of 25 yards. Linebacker Johnny Magee (Oak Grove) had three tackles, one TFL and Jones’ only sack. The Bobcats ended the game with seven TFLs.
Jones took control of the game immediately.
The Bobcats received the opening kickoff and went 71 yards in eight plays with Grandberry taking it the distance from 29 yards out. Cristofer Thompson’s (Adams County Christian School) extra point made it 7-0 with 11:15 left in the first quarter.
ECCC would then face a fourth and 2 at its own 43-yard line. The Warriors tried a fake punt, but Ashford stuffed it for no gain.
Jones then drove 43 yards in six plays with Grandberry scoring on a 3-yard run. Thompson’s kick made it 14-0 with 6:04 left in the opening quarter.
The Warriors would move to the Jones’ 48 on their next drive, but Gill would end the threat with an interception.
Jones drove the ball from the Warrior 33 down to the 17, but would turn it over on a fumble.
On the Bobcats’ next drive, they would take it all the way to the ECCC 8-yard line. But Thompson’s 25-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Two possessions later, ECCC got on the board when JD Martin took a handoff and raced 81 yards for a touchdown. The extra point by Robens Beauplan was good and Jones led 14-7 with 8:02 left in the first half.
ECCC had a chance to tie on its next possession. The Warriors had a fourth and goal at the Jones’ 13-yard line. They attempted a fake field goal and had a wide open receiver for a score, but the pass was dropped.
The second half started well for the Bobcats.
They forced a ‘3 and out’ and Jones would return the punt from his own 25-yard line to the Warrior 42. Webb would enter the game and gain 32 yards on his first carry to the Warrior 10-yard line. Barnum would connect with Jones on a 2-yard pass on third and goal for the touchdown to end the four-play drive. Thompson’s conversion made it 21-7 with 11:15 showing.
The Warriors would move 55 yards in four plays for its final score. Quarterback Holman Edwards found Depodray Coburn for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was blocked by Kevon Cloyd (Columbia) and the score remained 21-13 with 6:29 to play in the third quarter.
The Bobcats would add to its lead early in the fourth quarter when Webb made a ‘highlight reel’ 25-yard touchdown run. He started to his right, was bottled up, reversed field back to his left and made it into the end zone. That play ended a 67-yard, seven-play drive. Thompson’s kick gave the Bobcats a 28-13 lead with 13:47 left to play.
Jones’ final score was on a 49-yard, five-play drive. Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins (Bastrop, Louisiana) got the score on an 8-yard run and Thompson’s extra point ended the scoring with 1:17 left.
Shawn Wansley is the Jones College Sports Information Director