By Shawn Wansley
Jones College Sports Information Director
PERKINSTON – It was a case of too little, too late for No. 13 Jones College here Thursday night at A.L. May Stadium.
Trailing No. 4 Mississippi Gulf Coast 20-0 entering the fourth quarter, the Bobcats had a chance to win the game in the final minute. Jones had the ball inside the MGCCC 10-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs and dropped a 20-14 decision to the Bulldogs.
Jones falls to 2-2 on the season, 1-1 in the MACJC South Division. MGCCC is now 4-0 and 1-0 in division play.
Down by three scores, the Bobcats used a special teams play to get back into the game.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Jones forced MGCCC into a punting situation.
Rakeim Ashford (Choctaw County) blocked the kick and Natorian Watts (Petal) returned it 13 yards to the Bulldog 12.
On the next play, quarterback Fred Barnum (Warren Central) connected with Manny Jones (Amory) for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Cristofer Thompson's (Adams County Christian School) extra point made it 20-7 with 13:53 left in the game.
Two possessions later, Manny Jones returned a punt 20 yards to the Bulldog 29.
Seven plays after that, Ladamian Webb (Opelika, Alabama) scored on a 7-yard run. Thompson's PAT made it 20-14 with 5:59 remaining.
The Bobcat defense forced a '3 and out) and took over on its own 41 with 4:30 left to play.
Jones moved quickly for two first downs and would eventually face a third and 1 at the MGCCC 7. The Bobcats were called for a substitution infraction (12 men on the field) and would then have a third and 6 at the 12.
Barnum tried to pass, but was rushed heavily and threw incomplete.
On fourth down, Barnum was sacked by Navonteque Strong and MGCCC took over at its own 22. The Bulldogs took a knee twice and the game ended.
MGCCC controlled the game for the first three quarters.
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and drove 94 yards in 14 plays and used 6:51 of the clock.
Quarterback Chance Lovertich connected with Maleik Gray for a 23-yard touchdown pass. The extra point by Caden Davis was good and MGCCC led 7-0 with 8:09 left in the first quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Bobcat cornerback Lakevias Daniel (Louisville) picked off a pass to stop a Bulldog drive at the Jones 38. But three plays later, Jackie Matthews intercepted a Jones pass at the Bobcat 43.
Two possessions later, MGCCC would march 76 yards in nine plays. Austin Bolton capped the drive with a 3-yard run and Davis' conversion made it 14-0 with 4:15 left in the opening half.
MGCCC had one more scoring opportunity in the second quarter, but Davis misfired on a 22-yard field goal with two seconds left. The kick ended a 40-yard, 10-play drive.
But the Bulldogs added to the lead quickly in the second half.
After forcing a Jones '3 and out' the Bulldogs would drive 57 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Omni Wells scored on a 2-yard run, but the extra point was no good. MGCCC led 20-0 with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Jones was limited to 232 yards of total offense and 10 first downs. The Bobcats were only 1-of-10 on third down conversions. The Bulldogs had 318 yards of offense and were 10-of-18 on third down conversions.
Defensively, end Chei Hill (Miami, Florida) was a stalwart for the Bobcats. He had 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one quarterback hurry. Linebacker J.D. Rutherford (St. Stanislaus) had nine tackles and Ashford had seven tackles, one pass breakup and a blocked punt.
Linebacker Daylen Gill (Louisville) had five tackles, 2.5 TFLs and one sack. Linebacker Johnny Magee (Oak Grove) had three tackles, 2.0 TFLs, one sack and a forced fumble. Linebacker Mike Cockream (Ray Brooks) had six tackles, 1.5 TFLs and ½ sack. Lineman Johnny Banks (Port Gibson) had three tackles, 1.0 TFL and ½ sack. Defensive back Mileon Graham (St. Martin) had 1.0 TFLs.
The Bobcats had 11 TFLs and three sacks.
Manny Jones had four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown and Natorian Watts had three receptions for 49 yards. Webb rushed 14 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Barnum was 9-of-20 through the air for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
MGCCC goes to No. 8 Copiah-Lincoln next week.