By Shawn Wansley
Jones Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – It was a frustrating night for the No. 8 Jones College Bobcats here Thursday at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
Reggie Hayes threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Johnson with just 7.2 seconds left to lead the Holmes Bulldogs to a 25-23 victory over the Bobcats.
Jones hurt itself with several mistakes, including three lost fumbles, and the Bobcats were penalized 16 times for 105 yards.
Click on the link to see Holmes’ game-winning score and hear from JCJC head coach Steve Buckley: https://youtu.be/WfKlPI5zJHE
Individually, Jones running back Donte Edwards (Mobile, Alabama) rushed 26 times for 156 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Johnquarise Patterson (Pearl) had 12 receptions for 90 yards and a score. Wide receiver Natorian Watts (Petal) had four catches for 79 yards and his brother, Nataurean Watts, had two catches for 28 yards and a score.
The Bobcats had 23 first downs, 152 yards rushing, 226 yards passing and 378 yards of total offense.
The Bobcat defense – led by safety Fred Peters (Columbia), end Marquez Bembry (Atlanta, Georgia) and tackle DaShawn Crawford (Bay Springs) – held Holmes in check for the most part.
The Bobcats limited Holmes to only five first downs and 164 yards of offense in the second half, but 124 yards of those yards came on two touchdown passes.
A Jones’ fumble set up the first score of the game.
The Bulldogs recovered the fumble at the Bobcat 33-yard line. The Jones’ defense only allowed seven yards after the miscue and Connor McKay booted a 43-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 10:24 left in the first quarter.
Jones would take the ensuing kickoff and move 71 yards in just three plays.
Edwards would score on a tough, 9-yard run and Cristofer Thompson (Adams County Christian School) made the extra point to make it 7-3 with 9:42showing. A 34-yard pass from quarterback Stetson Bennett (Blackshear, Georgia) to wide receiver Natorian Watts (Petal) was a big play in the drive.
But Holmes would come right back and go 75 yards in 13 plays. Gabe Short would score on an 8-yard run and McKay’s kick put the Bulldogs in front 10-7 with 2:39 left in the opening quarter.
However, Jones would answer right back by going 72 yards in seven plays. Bennett flipped a short pass to Johnquarise Patterson (Pearl), who took it 19 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. Thompson’s extra point gave the Bobcats a 14-10 lead. A 29-yard run by Edwards was the big play of the drive.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs had a fourth and 9 at the Bobcat 33. A ‘pooch’ punt by Hayes would back the Bobcats up to the 5-yard line.
Three plays later, Bennett was sacked for a safety, cutting the lead to 14-12 with 7:44 left.
On the free kick, Jones surprised Holmes with an onside kick and John David Rutherford (St. Stanislaus) recovered at the 31. The Bobcats would pick up one first down before having to punt the ball away.
The Bulldogs would then drive the ball back into Jones’ territory at the 28. But Jonathan Haynes (Ray Brooks) would end the threat with a deflected pass interception.
On its third possession of the third quarter, Jones drove from its own 49 to the Holmes’ 12 where they drive stalled. Thompson kicked a 30-yard field goal and the Bobcats were up 17-12 with 5:00 left in the third quarter.
Early in the final period, Holmes took over at its own 15. Peters dropped Short for a 4-yard loss on first down and he stopped Martavius Dill for a 1-yard loss on a pass play on second down.
But on third and 15, quarterback Jesse Wilson lofted a deep pass downfield. Shaun Walton was able to get behind the defense, make the catch near midfield and race the remainder of the way to the end zone to complete the 90-yard scoring play.
The Bulldogs went for two, but a rush attempt failed and Holmes led 18-17 with 10:16 left in the game.
Holmes was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown and had to kick off from its 20.
Immanuel Jones returned the kick 23 yards to the Bulldog 45.
The Bobcats would move to the 23, but would fumble and Holmes would recover to end the threat.
Two possessions later, Jones would start a drive at the Bulldog 45 with just 2:55 remaining.
Facing a fourth and 8, Bennett found Patterson for an 18-yard gain to the Holmes’ 25. Two plays later, Bennett connected with Nataurean Watts on a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Bobcats led 23-18 with 1:26 to play.
The Bulldogs took over at their own 35 after the Bobcat kickoff sailed out of bounds.
Holmes used an 11-yard run and later a pass interference penalty to move inside the Jones’ 40.
The Bulldogs called their last timeout with 15.6 left, facing a second and 8 at the Bobcat 34.
Hayes took the snap, rolled to his right and threw the ball into the end zone where Johnson came up with the reception. McKay added the conversion.
After another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Holmes after the touchdown, the Bulldogs again kicked off from their 20 and the Bobcats would fall on the squib kick at their own 49 with 6.2 seconds to play.
After a delay of game penalty, Bennett found Natorian Watts for 16 yards to the Holmes’ 40. He got out of bounds with 1.2 seconds to play to give Jones one final shot.
But Bennett would be sacked at midfield on the game’s final play and Holmes secured the win.
The Bobcats, 1-1, open MACJC South Division play next week. Jones travels to Hinds for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 13. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv and WLAU-FM, 99.3, with Mark Easley and Luke Johnson on the call.
Holmes, 2-0, goes to Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sept. 13.