By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College started the 2013 season with an impressive 54-14 victory over Holmes Community College last week.
But JCJC head coach Ray Perkins does not want to discuss that game.
“That was last week,” he said Wednesday morning in the Bobcat Fieldhouse. “We are over last week.”
This week, the Bobcats will travel to Northeast Mississippi Community College for a 6:30 p.m. game on Thursday at Tiger Stadium in Booneville. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv and WLAU-FM, 99.3.
The Tigers dropped their season opener, 29-20, at defending MACJC state champion Copiah-Lincoln last week.
Perkins believes the Bobcats, who are rated No. 25 in this week's JCgridiron.com “Dirty 30” poll, will be facing a tougher challenge in NEMCC.
“Northeast is a better football team than we played last week,” he said. “We are going to have to play a lot better than we did last week in order to come out winners. They are just a better team than we played.
“That's not saying Holmes is not a good football team, but I'm just saying that Northeast is better overall.”
Perkins said the Tigers approach the game in a fundamental way.
“They run the ball and play defense,” he said. “That's what they do.”
Northeast is led by LSU transfer Jerrard Randall at quarterback. He rushed 13 times for 90 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown run last week. But he was only 6-of-20 through the air for 40 yards.
“Their quarterback looks good on film and he does a good job of doing what they ask him to do,” Perkins said. “They have five tight ends and three running backs, so the tight end number tells you what they want to do.”
Mitchell Cunningham topped the Tigers on the ground with 18 carries for 91 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Jamel Dennis had 10 tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks, while linebacker Antonio Ryland had nine tackles. Defensive back Miguel Graham had a pass interception.
As far as the Bobcats are concerned, Perkins believes his team will be prepared when kickoff arrives.
“We've been OK in practice this week – just OK,” he said. “I can't say it's been great. We had a good first day of work and yesterday (Tuesday) we had a few more mistakes than I would like to see. We will get to our walk-through today and, hopefully, understand what we have to do and give great effort when the time comes.”
The JCJC special teams played a major role in last week's victory.
Marcus Betts blocked a punt and scored from three yards out on a ‘scoop and score' for the game's first touchdown late in the first quarter.
Bobcat Qua Boyd then recovered a fumbled Holmes' punt at the Bulldogs 22 early in the second quarter. Three plays later, JCJC quarterback Kenny Coleman scored on a 7-yard run.
Return specialist Jarret Smith ran a Bulldog punt back 21 yards to give JCJC ball possession at the Holmes' 32 early in the third quarter. On the next play, Coleman connected with Quartez Cooks for a touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, the Bulldog punter dropped the snap and under pressure, managed a minus 2-yard punt, giving the Bobcats ball possession at the Holmes' 21. Four plays later, Thamaz Taylor scored on an 8-yard run.
On the next series, Smith returned a Holmes' punt 65 yards to the Bulldog 5. Two plays later, Boyd scored his second touchdown of the night. Smith ended the game with four punt returns for 94 yards.
And Jamal Young set up JCJC's final score when he blocked a punt and returned it nine yards to the Bulldog 6. Two plays later, Keshod Willis scored from a yard out.
Defensively, the Bobcats were stout.
JCJC had four quarterback sacks and 12 tackles-for-loss.
Defensive tackle Steven Eddings had eight tackles, two quarterback sacks and two tackles-for-loss. Tackle Jamarcus Blanks had five tackles, including three tackles-for-loss. Linebackers Kendall Island and Jamal Lucas each had eight tackles and one tackle-for-loss. End Ben Benison and tackle Devin Smith had a sack.
On offense, Coleman came in and provided a spark at quarterback. The Hazlehurst freshman was 7-of-12 through the air for 149 yards and two touchdowns and he rushed eight times for 49 yards and a score. Taylor rushed seven times for 44 yards and a score.
JaMicheal Willis had four receptions for 87 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown. Quartez Cooks had 49 yards on two catches, including a 32-yard score. Dylan Bossier had two receptions for 35 yards.
Last year, Northeast posted a 30-21 over JCJC.
Perkins said the key to this week's game is the same as it is every week.
“We just have to play better than the other team,” he said. “It's not too difficult.”
The Bobcats will open MACJC South Division play next week. JCJC will host Pearl River at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 in the annual “Catfight.” The game will cap ‘Hall of Fame Weekend” festivities.
Former athletic director and football player George Harrison, former NFL and Florida State University player Chauncey Davis and former Canadian Football League and Mississippi State University standout Jackie Parker will be inducted into the JCJC Sports Hall of Fame.
The trio will be inducted during the Hall of Fame banquet in Jones Hall at 5 p.m. and they will be recognized during halftime of the football game.
– JCJC is sixth in total offense with 342.0 yards per game. Northeast is seventh with 303.0 yards per game.
– JCJC is sixth in total defense, allowing 301.0 yards per game. Northeast is ninth, allowing 363.0 yards per game.
– JCJC is second in scoring offense with 54.0 points per game. Northeast is seventh with 20.0 points per game. JCJC is fourth in scoring defense, allowing 14.0 points per game. Northeast is ninth in scoring defense, giving up 29.0 points per game.
– JCJC's Kenny Coleman is 16th in rushing with 49.0 yards per game and Thamaz Taylor is 19th with 44.0 yards per game. Northeast's Jerrard Randall is seventh with 90.0 yards per game.
– JCJC's JaMicheal Willis is second in receiving with 87.0 yards per game, Quartez Cooks is ninth with 49.0 yards per game and Dylan Bossier is 17th with 35.0 yards per game.
– JCJC's Qua Boyd is tied for third in scoring (non-kickers) with 12.0 points per game.
– JCJC is second in sacks with 4.0 per game. Northeast is seventh with 1.0 per game.
– JCJC's Kendall Island, Steven Eddings and Jamal Lucas are tied for 25th with 8.0 tackles per game. Northeast's Jamel Dennis is 13th with 10 tackles per game.
– JCJC's Eddings and Northeast's Dennis are tied for first in sacks with 2.0 per game.
– JCJC's Grant McLaurin is fourth in scoring (kickers) with 6.0 points per game. Northeast's Chris Cooper is seventh with 2.0 points per game.
– JCJC's McLaurin is second in punting with a 41.0 yards per kick average. Northeast's Miguel Graham is ninth with a 33.6 yards per kick average.