New Orleans' native Parker confident in Bobcats' defense

Written By: Shawn Wansley
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Date Submitted: 2011-09-23 15:07:32

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College defense ranks with the best in the MACJC and in the nation.

That comes as no surprise to starting Bobcat cornerback Antonio Parker.

“We are coming together so much as a defense,” he said Wednesday afternoon in the Bobcat Fieldhouse. “We have that enthusiasm where we are wanting to hit and get after the next opponent. Our defensive line has more enthusiasm as far as getting to the ball and getting sacks. Our linebackers are reading the holes and as far as our secondary, we are just helping each other out and making plays.”

The Bobcats rank second in the state and fifth in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 71.6 yards per game and they are third in the state and 13th in the nation in total defense, giving up just 204.6 yards per game.

Most importantly, JCJC leads the state in scoring defense, allowing just 12.3 points per game.

JCJC defeated Mississippi Delta (33-0) and Coahoma (46-20) in its first two games before falling to No. 13 Mississippi Gulf Coast, 17-10, last week.

“I think the last two teams have gotten some yardage on us, but when you break it down, it’s really nothing,” said Parker. “We have given up a couple of big plays here and there, but not really any long drives.”

Parker is a 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore from Destrehan High School in New Orleans. He originally signed with Tulsa University and was placed at Coffeyville Community College (Kan.).

He transferred to JCJC and flourished as a freshman. He was named All-MACJC second team in 2010 and has picked up right where he left off last year.

Parker said he has gotten used to junior college football this year, posting eight solo tackles and three assists through the first three games.

“The speed of the game is coming to me and I can make plays better,” he said. “I don’t have any interceptions, but my teammates – Deneco Hathorn, Mitchell Brown, Deon Fairley and Chris Smith – have interceptions. That shows our defense is in position.

“When one of us is not in the right position, you can see that. We are all feeding off each other.”

After last week’s loss, JCJC finds itself in a crucial situation.

The Bobcats host Co-Lin Community College at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Wolves are also 2-1 overall, 0-1 in the division. They lost to Hinds (36-0) last week, after beating Coahoma (24-14) and Holmes (47-14) in the first two games.

Parker knows the importance of Saturday night’s contest.

“This is a real big game for us,” he said. “Last week is behind us. It was a tough loss, a close loss. But we are looking forward to Co-Lin to see what they have to offer. We are going out with the same game plan and we know what to do.

“The defense does not change for anybody – we just adjust to the offense.”

Parker said Co-Lin presents a challenge with quarterback Chandler Rogers and wide receiver De’Vante Scott being among the chief threats.

“They have a solid offense and defense,” he said. “We have to come with our p’s and q’s on this game, too. No. 12 (Rogers) and No. 9  (Scott) I know for sure we will have to watch. Their defensive line and linebackers are pretty good, too.

“But we just want to win this week. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big margin or a small margin.”

Parker wants the Bobcats to have a successful 2011 season. After that, he plans on making his mark at the next level.

“I just want to have an opportunity to play at the Division I level,” he said. “Wherever I go, I want to have a chance to start and get my education.”

Parker has enjoyed his two years at Jones. Going from New Orleans to Tulsa to Coffeyville and now to JCJC has been an interesting experience.

But he credits JCJC head coach Eddie Pierce and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Steve Boyd with helping him further his playing career and education.

“It’s been a nice, smooth ride,” he said. “It’s not been bumpy. Jones has helped me bigtime in learning the collegiate part of football. Coach Pierce and Coach Boyd have really helped me grow to be a man.”

Saturday’s game against Co-Lin will be televised live on with Lance Pittman and Mark Easley on the call. Airtime is 7:15 p.m. The game will also be on radio at WGDQ-FM, 93.1.

The game will cap off Hall of Fame Weekend for JCJC.

The 2011 Class of the Bobcats Sports Hall of Fame – Dale Crowder, Wilmer Dennis, Parker Dykes, Elmer Higginbotham and Kenneth Schulte – will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a banquet in A.B. Howard Gymnasium at 5 p.m. The inductees will serve as honorary game captains and will also be recognized at halftime.

The day will start with the annual Bobcat Hall of Fame 5K Run at 8 a.m. and immediately after Saturday night’s game, a fireworks display will be held at Bobcat Stadium.


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