Jones tackles Northwest in MACJC semis
By By Richard Strength/EMG-Laurel Leader Call
Nov. 9, 2001
ELLISVILLE The latter part of this junior college football season has a familiar feeling to it. Saturday's playoff game between Jones Junior College and Northwest Community College in Ellisville will determine one of the participants in the state championship game.
In 1998, Jones had to defeat Northwest in the final regular season game for the right to play the Rangers again a week later for the state championship.
The Bobcats won both contests, then beat Georgia Military in the Golden Isles Bowl to complete a 12-0 undefeated season and a national championship.
Northwest opened the 2001 football season with a 30-20 triumph over the Bobcats in Senatobia. The Rangers completed the regular season with a 7-2 record, finishing second in the North Division.
After the loss, the Bobcats regrouped and rattled off eight straight victories to win the South Division. Jones limited opponents to 14 points or less in seven of those eight games.
Dykes indicated a healthy respect for the Ranger program.
The Rangers are blessed with an overflow of exceptional talent.
Quarterback Bobby Robinson, the state's second-leading passer, has thrown for 2,285 yards and 20 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions in 311 attempts.
Robinson has the luxury of throwing to arguably the best receiver in Mississippi. Durrell Robinson, who started at Georgia last year before
transferring to NWCC, is the state's top pass catcher with 46 receptions for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tony Jackson has added 38 catches for 521 yards.
When the Rangers run the ball, it's likely to be in the hands of running back Sherron Moore, who broke the school's single-game rushing mark with 242 yards against Hinds on Oct. 4.
A preseason All-American, Moore has rushed 172 times for seven touchdowns and 1,106 yards, which is second in the state to the 1,152 yards covered by Jones' Ralph Davis.
In addition to the state's top rusher, Jones also has a top-flight
quarterback and receiver. Charles Hales is the state's fourth-leading passe with 1,365 yards and six touchdowns, while Alonzo Nix has caught 38 passes for 664 yards, which is third in Mississippi.
Both teams boast excellent placekickers. Bobcat Nick Terracina is the state leader with 60 points, having made 14-of-23 field goal attempts. Most of Terracina's misses came in two games and from long distances.
Northwest counters with Brent Smith, who has been good on 7-of-13 field goal attempts and made a 51-yarder against Coahoma last week.
The Bobcats and Rangers each possess strong defenses that create turnovers and limit scoring opportunities. Northwest has Mississippi's No. 2-ranked defense, while Jones is No. 4, having allowed 69 more yards. The Bobcats' 15 touchdowns allowed are a state low.
Each defense is loaded with talent, but the Rangers have a special player in linebacker Colby Simmons. He is among the state top tacklers, while leading the league in sacks with 12 and fumble recoveries with five.
The Rangers resemble a jailbreak with their pass rush. Five NWCC players are among the top 15 in sacks. Defensive ends Larrick Womack and Antoine Kimble anchor the Northwest defensive front.
Defensive end Fred Blueford and linebackers Josh Tate and Nate Hardage are the Bobcats' leading tacklers along with defensive backs Chris Swain and Bobby Keyes.
Cornerback David Scott has six interceptions, while hard-hitting Kennie Covington, Swain and Hardage are three of the state's top five fumble producers.
The winner of Saturday's game will meet either Mississippi Delta or East Central for the state championship.
Game time at Jones is 2 p.m.