It has been a tough road to 5-0 and it will not get any easier for the Bobcats this Thursday when they host #10 Pearl River Community College at Sim Cooley Field. With a win, the Bobcats will control the South Division of the MACJC...a win by the Wildcats will put themselves back in the race for South Division title with #7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the Bobcats.
Pearl River owns a 39-36-2 advantage in the series. Last season, Jones County snapped a five-game winning streak by Pearl River with a 33-28 win in Poplarville. Ironically, the Bobcats were ranked third in the nation at the time and Pear River was ranked sixth. Then freshman quarterback Early James threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in last year's win for Jones County.
Scouting the two teams.
#10 Pearl River Community College
Wildcat head coach Tim Hatten has built a winner in Poplarville. In seven seasons he has a 57-11 (.838) record and has won four MACJC titles and the 2004 NJCAA Championship. Hatten has led the Wildcats to the MACJC playoffs six out of the last seven seasons.
This year's Pearl River squad got out to a 4-0 start, defeating Holmes, Northeast Mississippi, Northwest Mississippi and Hinds. However, they lost for the first time this season last week, 10-3, to their long-time rival Mississippi Gulf Coast last Thursday.
Offensively, the Wildcats own the second best passing game in the MACJC, posting 244.6 yards through the air. Quarterback Emil Jones (#12 pictured left) has completed 97-of-163 passes (59.5%) for 1,177 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Wideout Jerry Duncan leads the Wildcats with 15 catches for 282 yards.
Ironically, Pearl River also owns the best passing defense in the league, allowing under 100 passing yards a game from the opposition (95.6). The Wildcats also allow just 121 rushing yards a game, which ranks them as the best total defense in the MACJC (217.0 yds/game).
Linebacker Hendrick Leverette lead the team with 44 tackles (16 solo, 28 assists) and has two tackles for loss, an interception and a sack. Cornerback Johnnie Dixon has been active this year with two picks, two forced fumbles and 15 total tackles. Safety Marcus Ball has been all over the place, recording 33 tackles (13 solo, 30 assists). Johnny Roberts has been the anchor of the defensive line totaling 25 tackles and five sacks.
"This is the second straight game for us against a nationally-ranked opponent," explained Hatten, "We're going to have to play a complete game against a very good football team if we expect to come out on top."
#3 Jones County Junior College
After a 9-2 record and being left out of the bowl picture last year, Eddie Pierce (3rd year, 20-5) and his Bobcats busted out five big wins to begin their 2008 season. Nothing but a MACJC title and the chance to play for a national title is on the mind of JCJC players, coaches and fans. They have a great team, loaded with talented players, but in order to accomplish their goal they must find a way to get past not only Pearl River, but Mississippi Gulf Coast...no wonder why so many NJCAA football fans consider the South Division of the MACJC to the toughest league in the nation.
Jones County has been tested many times this year, winning three of their contests by a touchdown or less. Last week, quarterback Early James connected with wideout Anthony Jackson for a 99-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to lead the Bobcats to a 31-24 win over Hinds.
A second year starter at quarterback, James has been piloting the Bobcat offense very well thus far, throwing for 765 yards and seven touchdowns while also rushing for 201 yards as well. However, the offense would literally be nowhere without running back Daniel Borne (#1 pictured right), who leads the NJCAA with 11 rushing touchdowns. He has rushed for 405 yards on 105 carries (80 yds/game). Jackson leads the Bobcats with 16 catches for 308 yards and three TD's.
Jones County has the best rushing defense in the MACJC, giving up just 61.6 yards a game. The Bobcats are second to the Wildcats in total defense, allowing 286 yards a game from opponents.
Linebackers Eric Lictenstein and Demorio Leverett lead the Bobcats in tackles. Lictenstein has 38 tackles, including three tackles for loss, while Leverett has 34 stops thus far this season. As a team Jones County has recorded 13 sacks in five games with Riley Flowers and Darrion Wilson both recording four sacks each.
The Bobcat secondary has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. The team has intercepted eight passes with Jamie Bender and Derek Welch each recording two picks.
"It’s Pearl River. It's a big rivalry," said Pierce of Thursday's game. "It's been a rivalry ever since I've known Jones County Junior College existed and I have been coming to games here since 1968. Our kids just have to get ready to play and put together four full quarters."
#10 Pearl River Community College (Miss.), 4-1, at #3 Jones County Junior College (Miss.), 5-0
Oct. 2, 2008, 7 p.m. (Central Time)
Sim Cooley Field at Bobcat Stadium (5,500 capacity); Ellisville, Miss.
Listen Live at www.prcc.edu/radio/ or www.jcjc.edu
#3 Jones County Hosts #10 Pearl River in Important MACJC Southern Division Contest
THIS WEEK IN NJCAA FOOTBALL
Thursday evening, Oct. 2, gets the weekend started off with the 78th "Cat-fight" between #10 Pearl River and #3 Jones County. #19 Mississippi Delta Community College travels to Northwest Mississippi Community College to round out ranked teams in action.
Saturday features another big game for new #1 Navarro College (Texas) when they host #12 Trinity Valley Community College (Texas). The Bulldogs have already faced three ranked teams this year (Coffeyville, Georgia Military and Kilgore) and came away with three wins. The Cardinals have quietly climbed from the land of the unranked to #12 over the past three weeks. They looked good last week with a 47-13 win over Cisco Junior College (Texas).
Fourteen other ranked teams will be in action on Saturday against unranked teams, while #5 Georgia Military College will take the field Sunday at Troy University.
Check out this week's NJCAA Football Schedule.
NJCAA Schedule October 2nd - 5th
Hall, Tyner and Phillips Receive NJCAA Football Players of the Week Honors
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 1, 2008) - Kyle Hall (Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College), Tory Tyner (Trinity Valley Community College) and Joe Phillips (Snow College) have been named NJCAA Football Players of the Week for games Sept. 25 through Sept. 29.
Hall is the Offensive Player of the Week, Tyner earns the Defensive Player of the Week honors and Phillips takes the Special Teams Player of the Week award.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kyle Hall, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College (Minn.)
Quarterback; Esko, Minn. / Lincoln High School
Hall (6' 3", 195 lbs.), a freshman from Esko, Minn., completed 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Fond du Lac Thunder to a 33-6 win over Itasca Community College (Minn.) last Saturday. The win was the first in program history, which is in its second year of play. In three games behind center this year, Hall is 55-for-100 pass attempts for 686 yards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tory Tyner, Trinity Valley Community College (Texas)
Defensive Back; Cedar Hills, Texas / Cedar Hills High School
Tyner (6' 1", 185 lbs.) helped lead the #12 Trinity Valley Cardinals to a 47-13 victory over Cisco Junior College (Texas) last Saturday by recording two interceptions and returning both for touchdowns. Both picks came in the second half and both came at the perfect time. Tyner's first interception came early in the fourth quarter as Cisco had marched down to the Trinity Valley 10 yard line. Tyner perfectly jumped the route of his receiver for the pick and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Then, on the final play of the game, he leaped to pull down Cisco's final pass on the goal line, picked up a convoy of blockers and covered the 100 yards for the 47-13 final score. Tyner also had four solo and one assisted tackle in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Joe Phillips, Snow College (Utah)
Kicker; Alpine, Utah / Lone Peak High School
Phillips (5' 10", 165 lbs.) did his job in helping #2 Snow to a 45-13 victory over then #9 Glendale Community College (Ariz.). He was perfect in five extra point attempts and also nailed a 43-yard field goal. Phillips has made all 23 extra point attempts and all five field goal attempts this year for a grand total of 38 points, which currently ranks second among all NJCAA kickers.