No. 18 JCJC falls to No. 11 Northwest, 40-31October 27, 2012
By Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director
SENATOBIA – The 11th-ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers defeated the 18th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats 40-31 here on a sunny and cool Saturday afternoon at Ranger Stadium/Bobby Franklin Field.
Northwest quarterback Domonique Harris found Derrell Lovelady in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left to give the Rangers a 34-31 lead.
The Rangers added an insurance touchdown when Randolph Williams recovered a Bobcat fumble at the JCJC 2 and walked into the end zone for a score with 31 seconds left to play.
JCJC ends the year at 6-3 overall in Ray Perkins’ first year as head coach and ties Co-Lin and Mississippi Gulf Coast at 5-1 for the MACJC South Division title.
However, the Bulldogs beat East Central 41-0 on Saturday and earned the top seed in the South Division by virtue of the tiebreaker. The Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 8-1, which gave them the edge. Co-Lin is the No. 2 seed in the division, having defeated the Bobcats 33-29 earlier in the season.
Northwest is now 7-1 and will travel to Mississippi Gulf Coast on Nov. 3 in the opening round of the playoffs. East Mississippi, 8-1 and the North Division top seed, was upset 24-23 by Itawamba on Saturday when the Indians booted a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds. EMCC will host Co-Lin on Nov. 3 in the playoffs.
The MACJC state championship game will be played Nov. 10.
Rangers 40, Bobcats 31
A major bright spot for JCJC on Saturday was the play of running back Rueben Ducksworth.
Ducksworth rushed 24 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Ducksworth, a sophomore from Mt. Olive, ends the year with 1,084 yards rushing, which leads the state. He also tops the MACJC with 16 touchdowns for 96 points.
Northwest broke out on top early against the Bobcats.
JCJC was forced to punt on its first possession and Grant McLaurin boomed the kick 64 yards. However, Northwest’s Lawon Debardelaben chased it down and fielded it on his own 10-yard line. He proceeded to return the kick 90 yards for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked, but Northwest led 6-0 with 11:47 left in the first quarter.
JCJC would then answer with two straight scores.
First, the Bobcats drove 71 yards in six plays. Quarterback Ethan Hamilton connected with JaMichael Willis on a 36-yard scoring strike over the middle. McLaurin’s extra point made it 7-6 with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
The Bobcats held the Rangers on the next series and forced a punt. JCJC’s Jarrett Smith returned the kick 20 yards to the Bobcat 34.
JCJC would then drive 66 yards in five plays. A 36-yard run by Ducksworth and a 26-yard pass from Hamilton to Dylan Bossier were the big plays in the drive.
Ducksworth did the honors from one yard out and McLaurin’s extra point gave the Bobcats a 14-6 lead with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Northwest used its defense to set up a touchdown.
Demarcus Pegues picked off a Hamilton pass at the Jones’ 40 and returned it to the Bobcat 11.
Two plays later, Harris hit Jalen Gaston on an 8-yard scoring pass. The pass for two points failed, but the Rangers had cut the lead to 14-12 with 11:41 left in the first half.
Northwest used another pass interception to set up their next score.
Ty Northern picked off a Hamilton pass at the Bobcat 49.
Nine plays later, Harris found Gaston again for a touchdown, this time from 18 yards away. Harris connected with Darreall Joyner on the two-point conversion and the Rangers led 20-14 with 6:59 left in the first half.
But the Bobcats would use its special teams to get into position to take the lead before halftime.
Smith took the ensuing kickoff at his own 9 and returned it 54 yards to the Ranger 37.
Nine plays later, Ducksworth took an option pitch to the left and scored on a 9-yard run. McLaurin’s kick gave the Bobcats a 21-20 lead with 3:02 left in the second quarter.
The Bobcats added to their lead on their second possession of the second half.
Taking advantage of good field position, the Bobcats took over on the Ranger 35 after a short punt into the wind. Five plays later, McLaurin booted a 44-yard field goal and JCJC led 24-20 with 10:27 left in the third quarter.
The Rangers would then take the ensuing kickoff and drive 73 yards in 12 plays. A key play was when the Rangers faced fourth and 3 at the Jones’ 33. The Bobcats jumped offsides to give Northwest a first down.
Percy O’Bannon would eventually score from a yard out. Chase Carpenter’s extra point gave Northwest a 27-24 lead with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
The Rangers threatened to increase the lead when they drove from their own 20 to the JCJC 16 in 15 plays and used up over 7 ½ minutes of the clock. But the Bobcats stopped Harris for a gain of one on a fourth and 3 play at the JCJC 15.
The Bobcats then took over with 7:50 left and took the lead, driving 85 yards in 12 plays.
Jovontae Thurmon took an option pitch to his right and raced 17 yards for a touchdown. McLaurin’s kick gave Jones a 31-27 lead with 3:15 left in the game.
But Northwest would answer with a 90-yard, 11-play drive to go back on top.
The Rangers faced a fourth and 2 at its own 31 early in the drive and Harris found Lovelady for a 10-yard pass and a first down. Two plays later, Harris connected with Joyner on a 49-yard pass all the way to the Jones’ 10.
Facing a third and goal at the 7, Harris rolled to his right and found Lovelady open in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Carpenter’s PAT made it 34-31 with 44 seconds left.
The Bobcats would start their next drive at their own 15 after the kickoff.
Hamilton dropped back to pass, was hit and fumbled. Johnson picked it up and stepped into the end zone from the 2 for the touchdown. The extra point attempt failed.
The Bobcats had 19 first downs, 186 yards rushing, 165 yards passing and 351 yards of total offense. Hamilton did all of the passing, completing 11-of-25 with three interceptions.
Victor Jenkins and Corey Trim had pass interceptions for Jones. Unofficially, linebacker Marion Chapman was credited with 19 tackles for the Bobcats, while linebacker Damien Wilson had 14 stops.
Northwest had 26 first downs, 141 yards rushing and 278 yards passing for 419 yards of total offense. Harris did all of the passing, completing 25-of-46 passes with two interceptions.
O’Bannon led Northwest with 78 yards on 20 carries and Joyner had eight receptions for 97 yards.