Co-Lin passes Jones Co. in South Division race
WESSON – Stone Stadium was filled with flying footballs Thursday night. Co-Lin surpassed the Jones County Junior College Bobcats 33-29 in a wild aerial show, orchestrated by Wolfpack sophomore quarterback Chandler Rogers who completed 29 of 46 passes for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Rogers, a sophomore from Brookhaven, hit Joe Craig Jr. with the go-ahead touchdown pass and 57 seconds left in the game. The Bobcats, led by sophomore quarterback Ben Stevens, appeared capable of another comeback but Co-Lin defensive end Jerrell Jordan sacked Stevens, slinging him to the ground at the JCJC 31-yard line and forcing him out of the game.
Replacement quarterback Terrison Dantzler took over and made a long pass downfield that was intercepted by Co-Lin defender Milton Griffin with 5 seconds left to play, preserving the hard-fought victory.
Griffin, a freshman from Meadville, said Co-Lin defensive coordinator Larry Williams provided him with words of encouragement. “Coach told me to go out there and make a big play. He believed in me. Big players make big plays.”
It was Co-Lin’s third interception of the game. Stevens, who passed for 381 yards and 1 touchdown, completed 26 of 43 passes. He was intercepted by Alonzo Lewis, who returned the theft 27 yards to paydirt, giving Co-Lin a 16-0 third-quarter lead.
Jordan Harris intercepted Stevens in the first quarter at Co-Lin’s 31. On first down, Rogers faked a handoff and threw a strike to wide receiver Marquis Hayes who was open and raced 69 yards to the end zone, making it 7-0.
Rogers said the Bobcats allowed the short passing routes and Co-Lin capitalized. “As the game went on, they kept giving it to us.”
He said he was confident Co-Lin would answer the 15-yard touchdown run by Reuben Ducksworth that pushed Jones ahead 28-26 with 4 minutes left in the game. “We had plenty of time and nobody panicked.”
The Pack got a dazzling 41-yard kickoff return from Greg Sims that gave them possession at the 48-yard line. Rogers directed the 7-play, 52-yard drive with 5 completions in 4 attempts. After hitting Darren Anderson with a 20-yard pass to the JCJC15-yard line, Rogers connected with Craig on a tackle-breaking jaunt to the end zone.
Co-Lin raised its record to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the South Division. The Bobcats fell to 3-2 and 2-1.
Former Alabama coach Ray Perkins came out of retirement to coach the Bobcats this season. His team was fresh from an upset win over Gulf Coast.
“It was a good game. I hope the people enjoyed it,” said Perkins, wrinkles creasing his 70-year-old face.
Nolan Long kicked field goals of 19 and 20 yards. The first field goal came on the last play of the first quarter, giving Co-Lin a 10-0 lead.
“I knew going in that our kicking game was better than theirs,” said Co-Lin coach Glenn Davis. “Nolan did a great job and so did our return teams. We had guys make catches and make plays.
“Marquis made a big catch and Joe Craig broke tackles to score. Chandler was accurate on that last drive. I’m proud of our players and our coaches.”
Hayes paced the Co-Lin receiving corps with 4 catches for 124 yards. Anderson caught 7 passes for 97 yards and Craig had 8 catches for 49 yards.
The Wolves were minus leading receiver Devonte’ Scott who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s win at Hinds. Scott tore his ACL and MCL on a punt return.
Ducksworth, a sophomore from Mount Olive, showed why his high school team won back-to-back Class 1A state championships. He finished with 25 carries for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Ducksworth’s 15-yard burst up the middle put the Bobcats up 29-26. He also scored on runs of 27 and 2 yards.
Co-Lin travels to Fulton for a game against North Division power Itawamba Oct. 4.