Bobcats split with Miss. Gulf Coast in 1983, but won the game that mattered most

Written By: Shawn Wansley
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Date Submitted: 2011-09-14 14:37:44

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

(Note: Jones County Junior College is celebrating its Centennial Year during the 2011-12 school year. As the school year goes along, we will take a look back at some notable contests for JCJC athletics. Today, we look back to 1983 when the Bobcats faced this week’s opponent, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, twice – once in the regular season and again in the state championship game.)

There is great history involved when it comes to Jones County Junior College vs. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football.

The two teams have squared off 83 times over the years with the Bobcats holding a 43-38-2 advantage.

In 1983, the Bobcats and Bulldogs battled twice. MGCCC won the first game during the regular season, 17-15. But the Bobcats would have the final say, beating the Bulldogs 17-12 to claim the state championship.

The first game was played in Biloxi’s Municipal Stadium.

Gulf Coast scored on the game’s first play when Eddie Collins ran 80 yards for a touchdown. Later, Bulldog quarterback Jeff Loftus scored on a 1-yard run and Gulf Coast led 14-0.

The Bobcats got on the board when backup quarterback Todd Mangum scored. Starting quarterback David Hopper then found Marty Griffin for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8.

JCJC went up 15-14 early in the fourth quarter when Lonnie May scored on a 3-yard run. Mangum’s extra point gave the Bobcats a 15-14 lead.

But Gulf Coast would get a 31-yard field goal late in the game to pull out the win.

Louis Ray Mickell led JCJC with 151 yards, while Barry Beach added 40 and May had 37. Vincent Simpson had a pass interception and Billy McNeese recovered a fumble.

The two teams would square off again for the state championship on Nov.19 and the Bobcats would prevail in a game played in rainy conditions at War Memorial Stadium in Pascagoula.

Gulf Coast scored first to go up 6-0, but JCJC answered when May scored on a 45-yard run. Mangum’s extra point made it 7-6.

May then scored on a 3-yard run and Mangum’s extra point made it 14-6 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

Randy Pace’s 36-yard field goal gave the Bobcats a 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs would score a touchdown, but fail on the two-point conversion attempt.

Gulf Coast would threaten in the final minutes, but would not score and the Bobcats would be state champions.

May would have a big game for the Bobcats, rushing for 121 yards on 15 carries, including the two touchdowns.

Hopper would have 61 passing yards, while Curtis Pray, Reggie Smith and Bubba Hathorn would have pass receptions.

JCJC head coach Sim Cooley was thrilled with the victory.

“We played a good game,” he said. “This was the best team we’ve played all year, the best in the state next to us.”

The victory gave JCJC its 11th state championship in school history and allowed JCJC to host the East Bowl against the nation’s top-ranked team, Harford Community College (Md.).

The Bobcats met the undefeated Fighting Owls from Bel Air, Md., on Sunday, Dec. 4, at Bush-Young Stadium.

An estimated crowd of 6,500 was on hand to watch the Bobcats triumph, 34-14.

JCJC ended the season with an 11-2 record.


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