Bobcats open South Division play on Thursday at No. 13 Miss. Gulf Coast

Written By: Shawn Wansley
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Date Submitted: 2011-09-13 15:13:05

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – All the preliminaries are over.

It’s now time to get down to business in the MACJC.

“You start a whole new thing this week,” said Jones County Junior College head coach Eddie Pierce Tuesday afternoon from his office in the Bobcat Fieldhouse. “We start out with two non-division games, then go into the division and it’s just a whole new season. That is what we have talked about most of the week.

‘This is what we have trained for and this is why you play – to try and win championships.”

The Bobcats travel to Perkinston to take on the 13th-ranked and defending state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs in the South Division opener for both teams at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The game will air on and WGDQ-FM, 93.1, with Lance Pittman and Mark Easley on the call.

JCJC enters the game with a 2-0 record after recording decisive victories over Mississippi Delta Community College (33-0) and Coahoma Community College (46-20).

“You can’t ask for any more than what we have gotten from them so far,” Pierce said of his Bobcats. “This is a fun group to be with and a fun group to coach.”

The Bulldogs are 1-1, falling to 9th-rated East Mississippi Community College (34-30) and defeating MDCC (31-14) last week. 

In last week’s win over Coahoma, the Bobcats jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. It was the second consecutive week for JCJC to quickly take control of its game.

“The kids are playing with a lot of enthusiasm,” Pierce said. “That, to me, is what football is all about. Football is an emotional game and our guys played hard last week.”

Gulf Coast broke a 14-14 tie with 17 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Trojans last week.

MGCCC, as usual, tops the state in rushing offense, averaging 262 yards per game on the ground, and defensively they are running the same formation they have used since Steve Campbell became head coach in 2004.

The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Raymond Cotton, who was at Ole Miss before transferring to South Alabama and now to MGCCC, and running back James Gillum. Gillum (5-11, 205) is a sophomore from Slidell, La., and leads the state in rushing with a 139.0 yards per game average.

“Coach Campbell is going to try and establish the run,” Pierce said. “You are going to have to shut down the run to beat them. They have run the 3-3 (defense) ever since he’s been there, too. That is a different look than what we have seen the past couple of weeks.

“So, we have spent a lot of time this week getting our kids accustomed to blocking that front.”

Last week, the Bobcats struck early, with running back Tiger Powell connecting on a 73-yard halfback touchdown pass to Jamaal Montague less than five minutes into the game to set the tone.

Montague would add a 4-yard touchdown catch and wide receiver Malik Lofton would take a short pass and break it 79 yards for a score. Tight end Keghan Livingston would catch a 35-yard scoring pass and Powell would score on a 3-yard run.

Quarterback Ben Stevens would connect on 18-of-28 passes for 305 yards and three scores.

On defense, Deon Fairley had a pass interception and returned a blocked extra point 90 yards for a two-point conversion. Linebacker Jerrell Gandy, ends Anthony Wilson and Jadarius Garner, tackle Derrek Upshaw and linebacker Brion James continued to play well.

Punter Slater Smith averaged 43.3 yards per kick and placekicker Logan Brewer was 5-of-5 on extra points and 3-of-3 on field goals. He leads the state in scoring with 29 points.

“We had a good night offensively with a lot of big plays,” said Pierce. “Of course, the defense played very well, too. I am just proud of the way our team is playing and I’m proud of this group of kids. “

Pierce expects quite a challenge from the Bulldogs, but he thinks his Bobcats will compete.

 “Gulf Coast is Gulf Coast,” he said. “They are always going to be pretty good and they’ve got a great coaching staff. They just do a good job every year.

“But I think our kids are going to be up to the challenge. I think we will go down there and play hard.”

Pierce said the Bobcats have a chance to win if they can do what they have done through the first two games this year – protect the football. JCJC has not turned the ball over in two games.

“If we can take of the football and move the chains, then we will put ourselves in position to win the game,” he said.

The Bobcats will be out to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Bulldogs. That is the longest losing streak JCJC has to MGCCC in the history of the series. JCJC has not beaten MGCCC since winning 41-14 in 2004.

JCJC leads the series 43-38-2.

MACJC Statistics

- JCJC is 14th in rushing offense (75.5 ypg), while Gulf Coast is first (262.0 ypg).

- JCJC is fourth in passing offense (312.0 ypg), while Gulf Coast is 13th (102.0 ypg).

- JCJC is fourth in total offense (387.5 ypg), while Gulf Coast is sixth (364.0 ypg).

- JCJC’s Ben Stevens is fourth in passing (269.5 ypg), while Gulf Coast’s Raymond Cotton is 14th (90.0 ypg). 

- Stevens has hit on 43-of-67 passes for 539 yards (64.2 percent). That puts him fourth in yardage and percentage.

- JCJC’s Tiger Powell is 16th in rushing (50.0 ypg). Gulf Coast’s James Gillum is first in rushing (139.0 ypg) and Cotton is fourth (111.0 ypg).

- JCJC’s Jamaal Montague is tied for fifth in receiving (11 catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns), Deuce Coon is tied for eighth (10 catches for 118 yards) and Malik Lofton (8 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Jonathan Ducksworth (8 catches for 93 yards) are tied for 13th. Gulf Coast’s Javon Bell is tied for third (12 catches for 93 yards).

- Montague is tied for third in scoring (non-kickers) with 18 points. Lofton is tied for seventh with 12 points. Cotton is tied for third with 18 points and Gillum is tied for seventh with 12 points.

- JCJC’s Logan Brewer is first in scoring (kickers) with 29 points  (8-of-8 on extra points, 7-of-8 on field goals). Gulf Coast’s Taylor Pontius is second with 17 points.

- JCJC’s Slater Smith is second in punting (40.7 ypp). Gulf Coast’s Will Scott is sixth (37.8 ypp).

- JCJC’s Quartez Cooks has one kickoff return for 29 yards and Lofton has one for 27. Gulf Coast’s Otis Jacobs has two kickoff returns for 44 yards. Jacobs has two punt returns for 44 yards.

- JCJC’s Mitchell Brown and Deon Fairley each have a pass interception.

- JCJC’s Anthony Wilson is tied for third in sacks with two, while Derrek Upshaw has one. Gulf Coast’s Wade Wells also has two sacks.

- JCJC’s Jerrell Gandy has 13 tackles, Wilson has 10 and Jadarius Garner has nine. Gulf Coast’s Mario Gainer has 22 tackles. Gainer had 13 tackles, including four tackles for loss, last week vs. Miss. Delta.


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