Jones Special Team Preview

ELLISVILLE – Special teams play is a major factor in the outcome of football games. Brad Reynolds, special teams’ coach for the 10th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats, feels confident about his squad of punters, kickers, snappers, holders and return specialists.

“As a group, you could not be more pleased with them,” he said. “They work well together and practice well together and communicate well with each other. We are really pleased with the way this group has come along.”

At the moment, Northeast Jones’ sophomore Cole Byrd (6-0, 205) is handling most of the placekicking duties, while Bay freshman Patrick Ponder (6-1, 180) has been doing most of the punting. Those two players have been splitting kickoff duties.

Byrd saw quite a bit action last year, handling the kickoff duties. He also kicked a pair of extra points, a field goal and punted twice, while backing up Grant McLaurin, who graduated.

“Cole did a good job for us last year,” Reynolds said. “He has worked really hard this offseason and improved his leg strength and accuracy. He does have a strong leg and works hard at what he does. We are expecting good things out of Cole this season.”

Ponder had an outstanding career at Bay. He averaged 42.5 yards per punt, was 63-of-67 on extra points and was 11-of-14 on field goals. He was chosen to participate in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic.

“Patrick is an extraordinary punter and works hard at his craft,” Reynolds said. “He is a very good punter and has worked hard on his placekicking. He is a very intelligent young man who understands what he is doing and what he needs to do to make himself successful.”

Another freshman, Madison Central’s Drew Edgar, is the longsnapper. Edgar (5-10, 230) was an All-State selection and was rated the No. 2 longsnapper in the Ray Guy Kicking Camp.

“Drew is phenomenal at what he does,” Reynolds said. “He is one of the best longsnappers I have ever seen. As a coach, he makes us look good because he is so good at what he does. “He is very good at the accuracy and timing of his snaps He was a good pickup for us.”

The Bobcats will use sophomore quarterbacks Kenny Coleman (6-1, 164) of Hazlehurst and Steven Swindle (6-1, 194) of Oak Grove as the holders.

JCJC is still working several players as return specialists.

Freshmen Justin Smith (5-8, 190) of Stone County, Tevin Moore (5-11, 196) of Stringer and Al'Dreecous Wilson (5-11, 175) of Opelika, Alabama, are working as punt returners.

Moore, Wilson, Smith and Purvis sophomore Thamaz Taylor (5-9, 175) are getting reps as kickoff returners.

The Bobcats open the season at 6:30 p.m. (EST) on Aug. 28 at Northwest Mississippi. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv.


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