One of the nation’s top junior college football matchups will take place in Ellisville tonight (Thursday) when the No. 12 Hinds Eagles will be at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field to face the No. 18 Jones College Bobcats in the MACJC South Division opener for both teams.
It will be the 13th annual Hall of Fame game at Jones as former football standout Daryl L. Terrell, former men’s basketball coach Jay L. Ladner and former baseball coach Christian Ostrander will be inducted into the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame. There will be an induction banquet at 5 p.m. in Jones Hall and the trio will be recognized during halftime of the game.
The Eagles are 2-0 after opening the season with a stunning 24-16 victory over top-rated and two-time defending national champion East Mississippi and a tough 19-17 win at Mississippi Delta last week.
Jones head coach Steve Buckley said the Eagles are as good as advertised.
“Hinds is highly ranked and is a very talented football team,” he said. “They have massive size on both sides of the football up front. They have a really good tailback and a transfer quarterback that played a lot as a starter in Texas last year. They have talented receivers.
“Defensively, they start nine sophomores. Obviously, it’s a big game for us. There is no room for error in this league. I tell the kids all the time there is a little room for error, but I think we’ve passed the ‘little’ part. We’ve got to be ready to play.”
Jones enters the game at 1-1 after defeating Holmes 23-7 last week. The Bobcats had dropped a disappointing, 18-10 contest at Coahoma in the opening week of the season.
Buckley said the Bobcats played much better in the win over the Bulldogs.
“I thought we were ready to play,” he said. “Holmes is a really good football team. It was scary for us from a standpoint of what they do offensively with the option game and defensively with all of their blitzes. We had to be sound with that. I thought we had a great scheme as far as running the football.
“Offensively, we made vast improvement. The biggest difference was we were behind the chains 60 percent of possessions in week one. This past week, I think we were behind the chains 15 percent of possessions. We had 19 negative plays in week one and this past week we had four negative plays.”
Hinds is led on offense by quarterback Elijah Walker, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound sophomore from Amite, La. He played as a freshman at Trinity Valley, Texas, last year. Another standout is sophomore running back Don Ragsdale, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound sophomore out of Pisgah.