The 17th-ranked Jones College Bobcats will try to get on the winning track this week.
The Bobcats travel to Goodman to meet Holmes Community College. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and the game will air on www.JCJC.TVand SuperTalk, 99.3, WLAU-FM with Luke Johnson on the call.
Last week, Jones had a difficult time at Coahoma, dropping an 18-10 decision to the Tigers.
“Give Coahoma all the credit,” Jones head coach Steve Buckley said from his office Wednesday morning. “They came out and executed their game plan. That loss is all on me. I’m the head coach and I understand that. I didn’t do a good enough job of getting these kids ready to play last Thursday night.
“At the same time, I thought we played good enough on defense to win the ballgame. I thought we played good enough in the kicking game to win the ballgame with the exception of two turnovers. We dropped a kickoff and the other was a muffed punt after a block.”
The Bobcats only managed 134 yards of total offense. Jones was held to 59 yards rushing and turned the ball over five times.
“Offensively, it was tough sledding,” Buckley said. “We had 15 possessions and stayed behind the chains in nine of those possessions. I don’t care if you are Houdini there is not a play call for third and 14, third and 15 or third and 22. Mental issues put us behind the chains.
“At the same time, we played a lot of young kids. That may be my fault for playing everybody early. But that’s the philosophy we have in recruiting. We are going to continue to do that this week and, hopefully, we’ve got it corrected.”
Buckley said the Bobcats were close to making things happen last week, but there was usually one mistake made to cost them a big-play opportunity.
“When you go back and look at the film, we are one guy away pretty much every play,” he said. “Out of 75 plays we ran, we had 19 negative plays. The frustrating thing about the game overall, from a team aspect, was that they had four turnovers and we blocked five kicks and we lost. How many times do you see that in football?
“We had five turnovers. At the same time, it did not feel like five turnovers in the game. It felt like they had way more plays than we had offensively. But when you go back and look at the tape, we had several drives. We had a 14-play drive, a 13-play drive and an 11-play drive. The bottom line is that we stayed behind the chains in nine of our 15 possessions.”
Defensively, Rakeim Ashford (Choctaw County) scored JC’s only touchdown, recovering a blocked punt by Nataurean Watts (Petal) in the end zone for a score. Ashford also had two interceptions, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups. Linebacker JD Rutherford (St. Stanislaus) had seven tackles and defensive tackle James Williams (Jackson Callaway) had six stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. Defensive back Enrique Whaley (Stone) had three tackles and two pass breakups.
This week, the Bobcats must prepare for the triple option running game of Holmes.
The Bulldogs rushed for 225 yards in a 27-21 loss at No. 13 Copiah-Lincoln.
“We have a great challenge because Holmes runs the option and they understand the triple option,” Buckley said. “That’s their identity. We have to play disciplined football on defense. Offensively, it is a challenge, just like the option, because they are a 3-down defense and they blitz you from every angle. They can cause you problems mentally if you are not sound and simple offensively because of their variety of blitzes. We’ve got to get a hat on a hat and understand where the blitz is coming from, even in the run game. We can’t turn them loose.”
Last season, Holmes scored a late touchdown and defeated the Bobcats, 25-23. The Bulldogs threw a 34-yard touchdown pass with 7.2 seconds left to pull out the win.
“They beat us on a ‘Hail Mary’ last year,” Buckley said. “Holmes should still be playing in Wesson right now. Co-Lin stripped a ball and had a defensive touchdown in the third quarter that was the difference.”
Last week was a difficult week for the nation’s top four teams in the NJCAA poll. No. 1 East Mississippi, No. 2 Iowa Western, No. 3 Garden City (Kansas) and No. 4 Jones all lost. Hutchinson (Kansas) is the new No. 1 this week.
“It’s going to be a topsy turvy season with polls and rankings,” Buckley said. “But as we always tell our kids, we are not worried about that right now. We are concerned about our next opponent, which is Holmes.”
The Bobcats will play its first home game of the season next week.
Jones hosts Hinds in the South Division opener at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field in the annual “Hall of Fame” game. Former Bobcat football player Daryl L. Terrell, baseball coach Christian Ostrander and men’s basketball head coach Jay L. Ladner will be inducted into the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame.
Holmes hosts Mississippi Gulf Coast next week.