Bobcats host East Central Saturday for HomecomingOctober 5, 2012
By Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – It’s another critical game for the Jones County Junior College Bobcats this weekend.
Head coach Ray Perkins’ team will host the East Central Community College Warriors at 3 p.m. on Saturday for Homecoming at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
The Bobcats and Warriors are currently tied for second place in the MACJC South Division with each team sporting a 2-1 division record. JCJC is 3-2 overall, while East Central is 2-3.
“This is a big game for us because it’s the next one,” said JCJC head coach Ray Perkins on Thursday afternoon. “I’m still new in this league, but I know this: Any team in this league can beat any other team if you are not ready to play.
“We are trying to make our players aware of that and remind them of that.”
JCJC is coming off a tough loss to the current division leader, Co-Lin. The Wolves scored with 57 seconds left to beat the Bobcats 33-29 last week in Wesson.
“I am not good at thinking back to last week’s game,” Perkins said. “Win or lose, it’s behind you.”
JCJC quarterback Ben Stevens threw for 398 yards in the game, while running back Rueben Ducksworth rushed for 107 yards and scored three touchdowns. Wide receiver Stephanio McNair had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, Taylor Higgason had receptions for 66 yards and Dylan Bossier had five catches for 85 yards.
The Warriors, after dropping their first three game of the year to Itawamba (35-13), East Mississippi (51-7) and Co-Lin (47-10), have bounced back to win consecutive games vs. Southwest (16-10) and Hinds (26-21).
In last week’s stunner over the Eagles, the Warriors trailed 21-6 at halftime before rallying for the victory.
“They have a couple of quarterbacks who can play,” Perkins said of East Central. “One is actually a wide receiver who can throw the ball. They are a good team and it’s going to be a big game for us, no question.”
Martin Johnson’s 67-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave ECCC the lead over Hinds. Brock Hall had seven rushes for 41 yards and scored twice. Keshun Shipp led the Warriors with 76 yards on 13 carries – all in the first half. But he injured a foot and did not return in the second half.
“Every team in this league has two or three big playmakers,” Perkins said. “It does not take but two or three big plays and that’s it. Late in the Gulf Coast game (a 35-28 JCJC win on Sept. 22), we made two big plays and they did not and that was big.
“It just seems like there is a premium on big plays in this juco league.”
Defensively, the Warriors stepped up in last week’s win over the Eagles, posting a shutout in the second half. Cory Houck led East Central on defense with 16 tackles, while Martaze Jackson had seven tackles and two quarterback sacks.
“East Central has a good defense,” Perkins said. “They play primarily a 3-4 defense and they have a big nose tackle to play it with and that could give us some problems. But hopefully, we can handle it.”
Perkins said the Bobcats have had a solid week of preparation for East Central. He hopes it pays off this weekend.
“Our players have had a good week of practice,” he said. “I think when Saturday comes, they will be ready to play the game. We’ve got to play a whole game, too. We can’t play a piece of a game, three quarters or two quarters.
“We have got to play four quarters and that’s what I will go over with them today.”
Co-Lin currently leads the division at 3-0, while Mississippi Gulf Coast and Pearl River are both 1-1 heading into their game on Thursday at Perkinston. Southwest is 0-2 and Hinds is 0-3 going into their game on Thursday at Raymond.
Saturday’s game will be telecast live on www.jcjc.tv with Mark Easley and Ed Smith on the call. The game will also be broadcast on WLAU-FM, 99.3.
The football game will mark the end of Saturday’s Homecoming activities on campus and Perkins is aware of what Homecoming means to a school.
“We need to play good for the fans, the student body, faculty and everybody involved with the school,” he said. “Hopefully, we will play well.”
The Bobcats continue division play next week when they travel to Hinds for a 6:30 p.m. game on Oct. 11.