The No. 9 ranked Jones College Bobcats broke open a close football game with a pair of fourth quarter scores to defeat the East Central Community College Warriors 35-13 Thursday, Oct. 24, at Bobcat Field at Sim Cooley Stadium in Ellisville.
In doing so, Jones finished second in the MACJC South Division and picked up the last playoff spot as the No. 2 seed. Jones will face Holmes in the state semifinals next Saturday in Goodman.
East Central finishes the 2019 season with a 4-5 overall record and 3-3 in the MACJC South Division. The Warriors faced seven ranked teams during the season, including the last five games in a row. Jones is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in division play.
Jones has now won the last three games in the annual series.
The Bobcats quickly put the Warriors behind 14-0 in the first quarter.
Jones drove 71 yards in eight plays on its first possession of the game, with Kaylin Granberry scoring from 29 yards out.
East Central attempted a fake punt from its own 43 on its first possession and failed to gain on the play. Six plays later, Granberry found the end zone from the three for his second score of the game. Jones led 14-0 with still 6:04 to play in the first quarter.
The Warriors got back in the football game midway through the second quarter when sophomore running back JD Martin (Wetumpka, Ala.) burst up the middle and went 81 yards untouched to the end zone on a one-play drive. East Central had cut the lead to 14-7 with 8:09 to play in the half.
East Central had a chance to tie the game on its next possession. The Warriors drove 55 yards to the Bobcat 13. Facing a fourth and goal, the Warriors tried more trickery with a fake field goal. The pass from freshman quarterback Deonte Yarbrough (Louisville) fell through the arms of a wide-open defensive end John Cartwright (Madison-Ridgeland Academy) and Jones took the 14-7 lead to the locker room.
After Jones opened the game with two straight touchdowns, the East Central defense limited the Bobcats to two punts, a blocked field goal, and a fumble on their next four possessions of the first half.
Just as it did to open the game, Jones scored on its first possession of the second half. After returning an East Central punt 23 yards to the Warrior 42, the Bobcats needed just four plays to score. Quarterback Fred Barnum hit Manny Jones for a two-yard score. Jones led 21-7.
East Central again got back in the game. After a short 18-yard punt, the Warriors took over on the their own 45. Four plays later, freshman quarterback Holman Edwards (French Camp) connected with sophomore wide receiver Depodray Coburn (Noxapater) for a 19-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked and Jones led 21-13.
The Warriors would not cross midfield again. Jones tacked on a couple of fourth quarter scores to put the game away 35-13. Ladamian Webb scored on a 25-yard run and Quaterius Hawkins scored from eight yards out.
The Jones offense produced 444 yards of total offense in the win, including 268 on the ground. East Central managed just 131 yards on the ground and 260 total yards for the game.
Martin led the Warriors with another 100-plus yard performance. He rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries. Edwards passed for 129 yards. Coburn and sophomore Jaylen Zachery (Dayton, Ohio) each caught five passes.
Freshman corner Desmond Williams (Forsythe, Ga., Mary Persons) led East Central with nine total tackles, while sophomore linebacker Anthony Blakely (Greene County) and freshman safety Anthony Thomas (Stringer) had eight each. Freshman safety Jaeden Webb (Northwest Rankin) blocked a field goal attempt.
Freshman Holman Edwards makes a move on a Jones defender on a quarterback keeper in the first half. (EC Photo)