By Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Missed opportunities.
That was the story for No. 6 Jones County in its 24-20 loss to No. 3 East Mississippi here Saturday afternoon in an MACJC semifinal game at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
The Bobcats turned the ball over four times on downs in EMCC territory, lost a lateral at the Lions’ 20-yard line and missed a 42-yard field goal.
That was too much to overcome as JCJC came up just short in an exciting contest between Top Ten NJCAA powers.
The Bobcats are 8-2 and will wait to see if they will play in an NJCAA bowl game.
East Mississippi, 9-1, will travel to No. 4 Northwest on Nov. 11 to play for its second straight state title. The Rangers beat No. 12 Hinds 27-13 on Saturday.
Saturday’s loss ended an eight-game JCJC winning streak. They had lost to the Lions 47-34 in the season opener on Aug. 31 in Scooba.
The Bobcats trailed 17-7 entering the fourth quarter, but they would put together a 66-yard, 11-play drive to trim the lead. Quarterback Detric Hawthorn (Collins) scored on a 2-yard keeper and Mike Kroeze’s (Madison Central) extra point made it 17-14 with 11:23 remaining.
After holding the Lions, JCJC took over on its own 7-yard line following a 42-yard punt. The Bobcats failed to pick up a first down, but Taylor Wallace (Jackson Prep) boomed a 59-yard punt and the Lions took over on their own 30 with 7:43 left.
EMCC drove to a second goal at the JCJC 1. The Lions lost 4 yards on the next play, but Jones was called for offsides. On the next play, the Lions fumbled the ball and the Bobcats recovered – but JCJC was whistled for offsides again.
Facing a fourth and goal at the 2, EMCC went for it. Running back Tyrell Price leaped over the line, initially came up short, but kept his legs churning and got into the end zone. Crabtree’s extra point made it 24-14 with 2:46 remaining.
But the Bobcats were not done.
They took over at their own 36 after the kickoff and Hawthorn connected with Jonnas Spivey (Bay Springs) for a 58-yard pass to the Lions’ 6. Two plays later, Hawthorn dumped the ball to Kendall Parham (Oak Grove), who scored from 4 yards out with 1:44 remaining. There was a high snap on the extra point attempt, however, and the conversion failed, leaving the Bobcats down 24-20.
EMCC’s Ty Williams then recovered the onside kick at the Bobcat 44. Three plays later, facing a third and 2 at the JCJC 36, EMCC quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. kept the ball on a run to his left, gained 3 yards and a first down and clinched the game.
The Bobcats started the game in fine fashion when Jonathan Haynes (Ray Brooks) came up with an interception to stop EMCC’s first drive.
Two possessions later, JCJC drove to a fourth and 1 at the Lion 32, but Scott Phillips (South Jones) was stopped for no gain and EMCC took over.
The Lions then drove 69 yards in nine plays for the game’s first score. Price scored on a 23-yard run and Crabtree’s kick made it 7-0 with 4:51 left in the first quarter.
Jones then took the kickoff and drove from their own 27 to the EMCC 10. But Hawthorn threw a lateral pass that was low and recovered by the Lions. EMCC would take over at its own 20.
The Bobcats forced a 3-and-out and began its next drive at midfield.
JCJC moved to a fourth and 1 at the EMCC 18. This time, the Bobcats tried to pass, but it fell incomplete and the Lions took over.
But JCJC would tie the game up on its next possession. They began the drive at their own 2-yard line and reached the EMCC 41 in five plays
The Bobcats brought out a trick play at that point when quarterback Chris Weaver (Bay Minette, Alabama) handed the ball off to Phillips, who gave it to Parham, who flipped it back to Weaver. Weaver found Spivey all alone, some 20 yards behind the defense, for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Kroeze’s kick tied the game at 7-7 with 7:16 left in the first half.
The Lions would regain the lead on its next possession, driving from its own 40 to the Bobcat 14. The drive stalled and Crabtree’s 31-yard field goal made it 10-7 with 3:43 left in the half
EMCC held and began a drive at its own 33 with 1:28 left in the half and no timeouts.
But the Lions moved down the field quickly and Price’s 4-yard run capped the 67-yard, six-play march. Crabtree’s extra point made it 17-7 with only 35 seconds left in the half.
JCJC took the second half kickoff and drove to the EMCC 30. But on a fourth and 7 play, a Weaver to Spivey pass gained 6 yards and the Lions took possession.
But EMCC fumbled on the next play and JCJC’s Travis Reed (Meridian) recovered at the Lion 32.
However, Jones lost six yards on three plays and on fourth and 16, Wallace’s pass on a fake punt attempt was incomplete and EMCC got the ball again.
But the Bobcat defense would come up big again on the next series.
EMCC had driven to a fourth and 9 at the Bobcat 24 and went for it. Scott was pressured and his pass right at Bobcat defensive lineman Dashawn Crawford (Bay Springs). Crawford got the interception and returned it 30 yards to the EMCC 45.
The Bobcats picked up two first downs, but the drive stalled. Kroeze’s 42-yard field goal attempt was off to the right and EMCC had thwarted Jones again.
Phillips had 16 carries for 94 yards, while Hawthorn had 10 rushes for 76 yards. Weaver completed 15-of-21 passes for 183 yards.
Spivey had five receptions for 145 yards and Parham had nine catches for 84 yards
Price rushed 21 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions.
Jones had 20 first downs, 194 yards rushing, 269 yards passing and 463 yards of total offense.
EMCC had 20 first downs, 170 rushing yards, 246 yards passing and 436 yards of offense.
East Mississippi 24, Jones County 20
Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field
East Mississippi (9-1) 7 10 0 7 – 24
Jones County (8-2) 0 7 0 13 – 20
1st quarter – EMCC, Tyrell Price 23-yard run, 4:51. Taylor Crabtree PAT. EMCC, 7-0.
2nd quarter – JCJC, Jonnas Spivey 41-yard pass from Chris Weaver, 7:16. Mike Kroeze PAT. 7-7.
2nd quarter – EMCC, Taylor Crabtree 31-yard field goal. 3:43. EMCC, 10-7.
2nd quarter – EMCC, Price 4-yard run, :35. Crabtree PAT. EMCC, 17-7.
4th quarter – JCJC, Detric Hawthorn 2-yard run, 11:23. Kroeze PAT. EMCC, 17-14.
4th quarter – EMCC, Price 2-yard run, 2:46. Crabtree PAT. EMCC, 24-14.
4th quarter – JCJC, Kendall Parham 4-yard pass from Hawthorn, 1:44. PAT failed. EMCC, 24-20.
East Mississippi Jones County
20 FD 20
47-170 Rushes-Yards 44-194
18-30-2 Comp-Att-Int 19-29-0
246 Passing Yards 269
436 Total Offense 463
8-71 Penalties-Yards 7-29
5-34.3 Punts-Ave. 3-41.3
1-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-1
JCJC – Scott Phillips 16-94, Detric Hawthorn 10-76; DeShawn Smith 10-26, Chris Weaver 8 – – 2.
JCJC – Chris Weaver 15-21-0 for 183; Detric Hawthorn 4-7-0 for 86; Taylor Wallace 0-1-0.
JCJC – Kendall Parham 9-84; Jonnas Spivey 5-145; Jeriko Morris 2-16; Harry Ballard 1-18; Gabe Rogers 2-6.
Photo courtesy of JucoWeekly.org