Bobcats win wild one vs. East Central

ELLISVILLE – In a game that featured 11 touchdowns, it took a big defensive play to seal the outcome. Jones County Junior College sophomore cornerback Mark Gray intercepted an East Central Community College pass at his own 3-yard line with 2:47 remaining to preserve a wild, 42-35 Bobcats' victory here Thursday night at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.

The victory improves Jones, ranked No. 5 in the latest NJCAA/ poll, to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Division. The Warriors fall to 0-4 and 0-2.

Jones broke a 35-35 tie with 5:53 left in the game when quarterback Early James connected with Anthony Jackson on an 8-yard scoring pass. Following the kickoff, the Bobcat defense held the Warriors on three plays and forced a punt. JCJC's Rafael Pollard caught the ball at his own 30-yard line, but had it taken away by East Central's Will McBeth.

The Warriors took over on the Jones' 19 and picked up a first down at the Bobcat 6. On first and goal, ECCC quarterback Emmanuel Taylor tried to hit one of his receivers on a fade route near the goal line. But, the ball hung up in the air and Gray, a Wayne County product, picked the ball off at the 3.

ECCC still had a pair of timeouts, but when JCJC sophomore running back Daniel Borne gained 5 yards on a third and three situation, the Bobcats had clinched the game.

Borne ended the game with 105 yards on 24 carries and scored his MACJC-leading eighth touchdown of the year. James completed 15-of-28 passes for 149 yards and rushed for 55 yards on 16 carries to account for 204 yards of total offense. Jackson ended the game with six receptions for 66 yards.

The Bobcats had two defensive touchdowns – Derek Welch returned a pass interception for a score and Elliott McGaskin added a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Gray, Greg Bolton and Jamie Bender also had interceptions.

Langston was a one-man wrecking crew for the Warriors.

He scored four touchdowns – two on pass receptions, one on a run and one on a punt return – and accounted for 263 yards of offense by rushing, receiving and kick returns.

The game was relatively even, statistically.

Each team had 14 first downs. The Bobcats rushed for 154 yards, had 149 yards passing and ended up with 303 yards of offense. ECCC had 76 yards rushing, 257 yards passing and 333 yards of offense.

The big difference in the game was turnovers. The Warriors turned it over five times and the Bobcats turned it over twice.

The game was scoreless for the first 11 minutes, but then the action heated up.

Welch picked off an Emmanuel Taylor pass at the Warrior 30 and ran it back for a touchdown to get it started. Jacob Chancellor's extra point made it 7-0 with 3:56 left in the first quarter.

Kendrick May then returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to put the Warriors in business at the JCJC 40. Three plays later, Langston took a handoff and raced 18 yards for a touchdown around the left side of his line. Derek Crenshaw's extra point tied it at 7-7 with 2:36 left in the first quarter.

East Central then took advantage of a Bobcat turnover to take the lead.

Clint Coleman picked off a James' pass at the Bobcat 38 and returned it to the 30. Two plays later, Taylor hit Langston for a 29-yard scoring pass. Crenshaw's conversion put the Warriors up 14-7 with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

Jackson then returned the kickoff 35 yards to his own 45. JCJC proceeded to march 55 yards in nine plays to tie the score. At the Warrior 13, Borne took a handoff, went to his right, broke several tackles and bolted into the end zone for a touchdown. Chancellor's conversion made it 14-14 with 11:52 left in the first half.

It did not take long for the Bobcats to take the lead. Three plays after the kickoff, Taylor fumbled the ball and McGaskin returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. Chancellor's kick gave the Bobcats a 21-14 lead with 10:04 left in the second quarter.

The Bobcats threatened to increase the lead when Bobby Wilson was credited with a blocked punt on ECCC's next series. That set JCJC up at the Warrior 14, but they could not convert.

Chancellor misfired on a 42-yard field goal attempt and ECCC had dodged a bullet.

East Central would then strike quickly to tie it up. Taylor found Langston behind the defense and connected for a 65-yard scoring pass to cap an 83-yard, six-play march. Crenshaw's kick made it 21-21 with 3:02 left in the first half.

But, the Bobcats would take the lead just before halftime. They took the ensuing kickoff and drove 60 yards in nine plays. James found Darius Dear on an 11-yard pass to end the march.

Chancellor's conversion gave Jones a 28-21 lead with 43.4 seconds left in the half.

However, East Central came right back on their opening possession of the third quarter. The Warriors moved 85 yards in just seven plays with Taylor hitting Donovan Tate on a 22-yard scoring pass. Crenshaw's kick tied it at 28-28 with 10:14 left in the third quarter.

The Jones' defense set up the next score.

Taylor tried to hit Dustin Alley on a third and 19 play over the middle. But, Alley bobbled the ball, it popped up in the air and Bender came in to make the interception at the ECCC 38.

Three plays later, James was pressured on third and 16, somehow got away from the rush and lobbed the ball towards the goal line. JCJC's Tristan Purifoy came down with the pass in the end zone for the touchdown. Chancellor's kick gave Jones a 35-28 lead with 6:19 left in the third quarter.

But, Langston brought the Warriors back again in the fourth quarter. He returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown and Crenshaw's extra point tied the game at 35-35 with 11:13 left to play.

But, Jones immediately responded. The Bobcats took the ECCC kickoff and drove 60 yards in 10 plays. Again, James was pressured by the Warrior pass rush, somehow got away and found Jackson on an 8-yard scoring pass. Chancellor's kick ended the scoring with 5:53 left to play.

The Bobcats continue division play on Thursday, Sept. 25, at Hinds Community College. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Raymond.

The Warriors will hold Homecoming on Sept. 27 against Southwest.

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