Steady From the Edge

ELLISVILLE – Darrion Wilson believes the Jones County Junior College Bobcats have yet to play their best game in 2008. "I don't think we have played up to our full potential," said Wilson, a 6-3, 212-pound sophomore defensive end from Crawfordville, Fla., Monday afternoon in the Bobcat Fieldhouse.

"Sometimes the offense is clicking and the defense is not. Sometimes the defense is clicking and the offense is not. We are all a team and I just think we need to all focus more, including myself, on what we are doing."

"We just need to get ready for Thursday."

The Bobcats, ranked No. 8 in the latest NJCAA poll, will have one more chance to reach their potential in the regular season. And it will come in the season's biggest game to date.

JCJC, 7-1, travels to Perkinston to take on defending state and co-national champion No. 11 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 6-2. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the Bobcats must win in order to reach the MACJC playoffs.

JCJC, Gulf Coast and Pearl River Community College are each 4-1 in the South Division. A Jones' victory will put them in the playoffs, while a loss knocks them out of the picture.

"If we lose, we have to turn it in," said Wilson.

Wilson has had several standout games this season. In last week's 27-7 victory at Mississippi Delta, he recorded five solo tackles, two assists and recovered a fumble. And for the season, he has notched four quarterback sacks.

But, one play in particular stands out for Wilson – an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 26-22 loss against Pearl River.

"I think that game was my best game," he said. "It was a big game for us and I had the interception for a touchdown. It was kind of a bad play because I got ‘chopped.' The guy ‘chopped' me and I was on the ground.

"By the time I popped up, I saw the ball coming right towards me. I just caught it and took it to the house."

Wilson graduated from Wakulla High School in Florida and was recruited to JCJC by defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Steve Boyd and running backs coach Chris Robinson.

"They told me if I didn't have a chance to go to senior college to come on to Jones," he said. "Troy and Florida State looked at me out of high school. Troy wanted to place me here, but I did not want to sign with them and then come here. I just wanted to keep my options open."

The move appears to be paying off because Wilson is receiving looks from more schools. The general studies major is on track to graduate in December and enroll in a senior college for the spring semester.

"There is a possibility I could go to school closer to home or even farther away," he said. "It does not really matter, just as long as I get a chance to play. Troy and UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) have offered me. Florida State and all kinds of schools send letters. I am still pretty open on a senior college."

It's over 350 miles from Crawfordville to Ellisville. Wilson said it was a tough adjustment last year, but he is now used to life in south Mississippi.

"It's different," he said with a smile. "My freshman year I was pretty homesick. It was pretty tough. But, I'm used to living over here now and it's not bad at all. It's been fun."

Wilson, who plans on majoring in exercise physiology in senior college and wants to become a strength and conditioning coach, does not want to see his career at JCJC end this week. He hopes the

Bobcats can knock off the Bulldogs and head to the first round of the MACJC playoffs, starting Nov. 1.

"We all have to come out clicking," he said of this week's game. "We cannot take any plays off. We all have to come out as a team and we have got to do this. It's all about how bad we want it and who wants it the most."

The Bobcats went 9-2 last season, with both losses coming in close games to Gulf Coast. The Bulldogs won 20-14 in the regular season at Jones and 20-17 in the state championship game at Perkinston.

Wilson expects the Bobcats to turn the tables this time.

"I've been studying them on film and they are about the same as they were last year," said Wilson. "But, we basically gave it to them last year. We have got to go out and take it this time. We have to take what is ours."

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