Flowers off to solid start for Bobcats

ELLISVILLE – In last week's game against East Mississippi Community College, Jones County Junior College defensive end Riley Flowers (6-2, 270) almost came up with a pair of interceptions. Flowers said the plays were something familiar to him.

"I had missed two in practice," he said with a smile. "And then I missed two in the game. I guess I have to start catching them in practice, so I can catch them in the games."

The Bobcat coaches are not about to get down on Flowers in the least bit.

The 6-foot-2, 270-pound sophomore defensive end from Geneva, Ala., came through with two sacks as the Bobcats held off the Lions, 23-19. He also had a pair of sacks in the season-opening, 38-7 whipping of Itawamba Community College, giving him four sacks on the season. That's good enough for second in the state.

"I just try to improve with every practice and every game," he said. "If you practice hard, then you are going to play hard. That's what I try to do."

Flowers, who was named a preseason third-team All-American by JC Grid-Wire, said the experience of playing as a freshman is paying off this season.

"Being a sophomore makes it easier than last year," he said. "We have to show the freshmen how everything goes. We just have to lead the team as best we can, both on and off the field." "I work hard every day and it pays off on Thursday and Saturday nights."

The Bobcats, ranked No. 5 in the latest NJCAA/ poll, have had two different types of games this season. They dominated Itawamba in the opener, but had to dig deep and overcome a sound East Mississippi team last week.

"We are working hard," he said. " For the first game, we were all pumped up and ready. I guess we all thought the second game was going to go like that, too. We were not as focused for some reason, but we have gotten our minds right this week. I think we kind of needed that last week. "Last week, everybody was kind of looking down for a while, but the sophomores had to pick them up. We had to let them know it was not over. We knew in the fourth quarter, we knew we were going to have to pick it up."

The Bobcats, 2-0, open up South Division play this week with their first road game of the season. They travel to face the Co-Lin Community College Wolves in a 7 p.m. Thursday game at Wesson. Co-Lin has struggled so far, dropping its first two games of the year.

But, Flowers knows the Bobcats cannot relax, especially since it's a division game.

"We have to win those division games," he said. "We are going to try and come out like we did for the first game and not the second game. We just need to play hard, give it everything we've got and, hopefully, come out with a win." Flowers has enjoyed his time at Jones. He said he would not trade it for anything.

"I have met a bunch of people over here," he said. "All of the teachers are great. They help you anytime you need it. It's better than any other school I've ever heard about. Everybody wants to come to school here, so I guess that says it better than anything.

"I just love it here."

Flowers also has the unique experience of having his head coach, Eddie Pierce, serve as his position coach in the defensive line. He credits Pierce with making him a better person, as well as a better football player.

"Coach Pierce is great," said Flowers. "If you are going to play for Jones, you are going to work hard and he works us hard. He is a great guy, on and off the field. He lets us know what is right and what is wrong. He talks to us about the Bible, too.

"Coach Pierce stresses education. I feel like he is helping me to be a better man." Flowers has drawn the interest of several senior colleges. At the moment, he favors Troy University, a school from his home state of Alabama.

"It's going pretty good," he said of the recruiting process. "I've been getting a bunch of calls. Right now, I am really looking at Troy. They are the leader. Now, if Auburn or Alabama call me, I will be glad. But, I'm looking mostly at Troy right now."

But, Flowers is not looking that far ahead at the moment. He is concentrating on the task at hand and that is preparing for Co-Lin.

"I am just taking it day-by-day," he said. "If it's God's will, we will do good. We just have to keep working hard and remain focused." And maybe Riley Flowers will come up with that elusive interception before the year is done.

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