By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – All of the preliminaries are over – it's time to play MACJC South Division football.
The 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats open league play with a 7 p.m. home game on Saturday against Pearl River Community College at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. The 83rd annual “Catfight” will be videocast on www.jcjc.tv with Ed Smith and Chris Robinson on the call.
“Pearl River is Pearl River,” said second-year JCJC head coach Ray Perkins Wednesday afternoon. “They are our biggest rival from what I understand. To me, that makes it a really big game.
“We have both played two games and I know they have some really good and capable players. For us to be successful, we have to be up to the task. Our guys will have to work hard and prepare well because we know it will be a tough game.”
The Bobcats enter the game at 2-0, fresh off a thrilling, 34-28 victory over Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.
The Bobcats piled up 564 yards in the game, while Northeast had 575 yards. But the Tigers had five turnovers and JCJC had none.
Perkins knew his team had been in a shootout vs. the Tigers.
“Both offenses had great games,” he said. “There was over 1,100 yards in the game of total offense, so there was not much defense being played. I thought we lacked consistency in several spots on defense.
“But those five turnovers were big. You could probably say that was the difference in the game.”
Pearl River, under first-year head coach William Jones, enters the game at 1-1. The Wildcats lost to East Mississippi 49-6 in the opener, but bounced back to defeat Mississippi Delta 30-14 last week.
“You really can't compare those two games because East Mississippi is so good,” Perkins said. “I really won't watch much of the Delta film, other than just to check out some of Pearl River's individual players and talent. I will watch the East Mississippi film because they have some great talent and great players. I want to see how Pearl River's players did against them.”
Wildcat quarterback Shaun White has completed 16-of-22 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. Detrick Goff leads the PRCC rushing attack. He has 24 carries for 89 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Wright leads the Wildcats in receiving with four catches for 74 yards, while Shaun Jones has four catches for 50 yards. Linebacker Martez Simpson leads PRCC in tackles with 12.
JCJC quarterback Steven Swindle came off the bench to give the Bobcats a boost last week. He completed 19-of-28 passes for 325 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. For that performance, he was named the MACJC Offensive Player of the Week.
“Steven came in and did a great job for us,” Perkins said. “I was very pleased with him. He gave us leadership and made some big plays for us.”
Starting quarterback Kenny Coleman injured an ankle in the second quarter, allowing Swindle to enter.
JaMicheal Willis had 12 catches for 125 yards, Quartez Cooks had five receptions for 115 yards and a score, Dylan Bossier had four catches for 85 yards and Taylor Higgason had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Justin Harris had 15 carries for 96 yards.
“Our wide receivers, our skill people, had very good games,” Perkins said. “Our fringe people on the edge did well. And I thought Justin had a really great game for us.”
On defense, linebacker Kendall Island had 13 solo tackles, three assists, 16 total tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He was named the MACJC Defensive Player of the Week.
Defensive back D'Andre Jackson had 12 solo tackles, two assists, 14 total tackles and clinched the game with an interception with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Defensive back Lawrence Hopkins had eight solo tackles, four assists, 12 total tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Defensive back Marcus Betts had six tackles, a blocked punt and stopped a Tiger threat with an interception in the end zone that he returned 73 yards.
Linebacker Jamal Lucas had eight tackles, tackle Jamarcus Blanks had five tackles, a quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss. Lazarus Shelby and Victor Jenkins each had fumble recoveries.
Punter/kicker Grant McLaurin averaged 41.3 yards on six punts and had field goals of 22 and 42 yards and was named the MACJC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Bobcats led 14-7 at halftime and came out and put up two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 28-7 lead.
“I was pleased with the way we came out in the second half,” Perkins said. “That's where I thought we won the game. Northeast had a pretty good football team. They were a good team and made some things happen.”
JCJC continues division play next week with a 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at top-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Pearl River travels to Coahoma on Sept. 19.
– JCJC is fifth in total offense with 453.0 yards per game and 11th in total defense, allowing 446 yards per game. Pearl River is 11th in total offense with 238.0 yards per game and seventh in total defense, giving up 353.0 yards per game.
– JCJC is sixth in rushing offense with 145.5 yards per game and second in passing offense with 307.5 yards per game. Pearl River is 10th in rushing offense with 108.0 yards per game and ninth in passing offense with 130.0 yards per game.
– JCJC is ninth in rushing defense at 160.0 yards per game and 12h in passing defense, allowing 286.0 yards per game. Pearl River is third in rushing defense at 120.0 yards per game and 10th in passing defense, giving up 233.0 yards per game.
– JCJC's Justin Harris is 16th in rushing with 57.5 yards per game. Pearl River's Detrick Goff is 20th with 44.5 yards per game.
– JCJC's Steven Swindle is fourth in passing with 190.5 yards per game and Kenny Coleman is 10th with 117.0 yards per game. Pearl River's Shaun White is eighth with 121.5 yards per game.
– JCJC's JaMicheal Willis is second in receiving with 103.0 yards per game, Quartez Cooks is third with 82.0 yards per game and Dylan Bossier is eighth with 60.0 yards per game.
– JCJC's Jarret Smith leads the state in punt returns with 20.6 yards per return. Pearl River's Chad Cook is second with 18.6 yards per return.
– JCJC ‘s Kendall Island is tied for second in tackles with 24, D'Andre Jackson is fifth with 21, Lawrence Hopkins is eighth with 19 and Jamal Lucas is 19th with 16.
– JCJC's Grant McLaurin is tied for second in scoring (kickers) with 16 points. Pearl River's Mark Moore is tied for seventh with eight points.
– JCJC's McLaurin is third in punting with a 41.3 yards per punt average. Pearl River's Brandon King is fifth with a 40.7 yards per punt average.