By Shawn Wansley, Jones Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – The No. 9 Jones College Bobcats have lost only one game this season.
Jones dropped a 25-23 decision to No. 14 run-oriented Holmes on Sept. 6.
This week, the Bobcats will face another triple option team as they host Southwest Mississippi on Thursday in another MACJC South Division game. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. and the contest will air on www.jcjc.tvand WLAU-FM, 99.3, with Mark Easley and Luke Johnson on the call.
First-year Southwest head coach Tim Stowers was a longtime assistant at Holmes and has installed the same type of attack in Summit.
Jones College head coach Steve Buckley knows the Bobcats will have to play better than they did against Holmes.
“We are going to get the triple option one more time,” said Buckley. “Obviously, we did not fare very well against it with the end result the last time we played it. They run a lot of the same things Holmes does.
“Southwest is very competitive and they have been in every game except one. It is a division game and we are not good enough to take anything for granted. We have to get ready to play.”
The Bears, 1-3 overall and 0-2 in division play, have lost three straight games since opening the season with a 33-28 win over Northeast. They have lost to No. 3 Northwest, 51-6; No. 20 East Central, 28-21; and Hinds, 41-14.
Jones is 3-1 overall and 2-0 division play.
The Bobcats are coming off a thrilling, 16-13 victory over No. 14 Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Buckley was pleased to get the win.
“Nothing that happened in that game surprised me,” he said. “I thought it would be a four quarter battle and I don’t think it disappointed anybody in that aspect of it. I feel like from a team standpoint the things we talk about each week you have to do to be successful to win ballgames, we accomplished.
“For the most part, we took care of the ball. We stayed in front of the chains and we got points from the 32 (yard line) in. Defensively, I thought we aligned correctly and played with great effort as we always do. We gave up some big plays, but in the end, we got them on the ground. We kept them from getting in the end zone. On special teams, we left some plays on the field, but we did make some plays in the kicking game.”
Defensively, redshirt freshman end Chei Hill (Miami, Florida) had quite a game for Jones.
Hill was credited with nine tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks. The East Tennessee State University transfer was named the MACJC Player of the Week for his performance.
For the season, Hill has 11 tackles for loss, which is second in the MACJC and fourth in the nation, and 5 sacks, which is third in the MACJC and tied for 10thnationally.
“Chei has improved every week,” Buckley said. “He is a great effort guy and has a great motor. He gets off the line of scrimmage well and has just gotten better every week.”
Linebacker Nick Anderson (Vicksburg) continued his solid play with seven tackles, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
In the secondary, cornerback Jamar Richardson (Aliceville, Alabama) and safety Jonathan Haynes (Ray Brooks) each had five tackles as the Bobcats were tested in the air throughout the game. MGCCC ended up completing only 11-of-34 passes.
“I thought on the back end, we held up very well,” Buckley said. “(Cornerback) Gabe (Rogers) went down in the first series with an ankle injury and it made Enrique Whaley (Stone) and D.J. (Derrick) Travis (Poplarville) play a bunch of snaps. It was great experience for them and they held up very well.”
On offense, freshman running back Kalyn Grandberry (Memphis, Tennessee) rushed 29 times for 178 yards and redshirt freshman running back Donte Edwards (Mobile, Alabama) had 10 carries for 66 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that gave Jones the lead for good.
“Kalyn is getting better every week,” Buckley said. “Donte had ball security issues, but he worked hard at it and came back and gave us a burst offensively with two big runs. We had two explosive plays from the tailback position and I think that could have been the turning point.”
On special teams, the Bobcats got on the board when they blocked the extra point attempt after MGCCC’s first touchdown and Raheem Shorter (Port Gibson) returned it 90 yards for a two-point play.
The Bobcats later executed a fake field goal on fourth and goal at the 2-yard line and holder Davis Harrison (Lamar School of Meridian) ran it in for a touchdown.
Jones also attempted another fake field goal and a fake punt, but came up short.
Buckley thinks Jones could have scored on all three fake attempts.
“Both of them should have scored,” he said of the fake field goals. “We had a missed assignment on the second one. Davis got bounced outside when the backside guard did not do his job and allowed penetration. That one should have scored. We ran a fake with a reverse on a punt. Fred (Peters) did not feel comfortable pitching it. If he had pitched it, we probably would have scored.”
Buckley said using trick plays is something that he would rather not do.
“My philosophy is not to be a ‘trick ‘em’ coach,” he said. “That’s not who I am. It bothers me that we are having to resort to tricks to keep drives alive. We’ve got to be better offensively. We have to make first downs and touchdowns instead of having to rely on special teams to do that.”
Buckley said the Bobcats cannot afford any slip ups this week.
“There is no room for error,” he said. “Our kids know that and our coaches know that. We’ve already had our error game. You have a lot of good teams in the South and we need to play well.”
The Bobcats will travel to Pearl River next week for a 6 p.m. contest on Oct. 4.
Southwest hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast next week.