Bobcats expect tough season opener vs. Miss. Delta
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2011-08-30 14:49:10
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Eddie Pierce has been around long enough to know to expect the unexpected when it comes to MACJC football season openers.
“In my 16 years in this league, I’ve come to realize you kind of have to play a game to see what kind of team you have,” he said Tuesday morning. “That’s kind of the situation we are in going into Thursday.”
Pierce’s Jones County Junior College Bobcats open the 2011 season at home at 7 p.m. on Thursday against Mississippi Delta Community College at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
Last year, the Bobcats whipped the Trojans 34-3 in Moorhead, taking a 17-3 halftime lead and never looking back.
But like all junior college programs, there is a lot of turnover each year. Jones only has 17 sophomores on its roster this year, while the Trojans only have 16.
“Just looking at their roster, I know they have a lot of freshmen, but they’ve got some good returning guys, too,” Pierce said. “From what I hear, I think they expect to be strong in the secondary.”
Pierce, who enters his sixth year as Bobcat head coach, has great respect for MDCC head coach Jay Miller, who begins his ninth and final year with the Trojans. Miller, who previously served as head coach at Itawamba, recently announced his retirement, which will be effective at the end of the season.
“I know Jay Miller will do a great job with them, especially on defense,” said Pierce. “They will be a well-coached team. This will be a tough, hard-fought game because their kids always play hard.”
Pierce also noted that the Trojans have hired Waynesboro native and former Southern Miss star running back Shelton Gandy as an assistant coach.
Some MDCC players to watch for in Thursday’s game include wide receiver Harry Hampton (6-0, 180), a freshman from Clarksdale; running back James Ball (5-10, 170), a sophomore from Clarksdale; linebacker Wayland Dancer (6-1, 190), a sophomore from Cleveland; and linebacker Brandon Powe (6-2, 220), a sophomore from Shelby.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, are about as ready as they can be to take the field.
“It’s time to play,” said Pierce. “After we go through our walk-through on Wednesday, that will be 22 times we would have been on the field. It’s time for us to beat up on somebody else.
“We are pretty healthy or we are about as healthy as we can be going into the game.”
Thursday’s contest will be televised live on www.jcjc.tv and can be heard on WGDQ-FM, 93.1. Lance Pittman will call the play-by-play and Mark Easley provides commentary.
The Bobcats will be in action again at home next week on Sept. 8 against Coahoma Community College. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. It will be “Military Appreciation Night” at the game.
Mississippi Delta will host Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sept. 8.