September 4, 2009 8:35:00 AM
SCOOBA -- Preseason All-America quarterback Randall Mackey passed for two touchdowns and rushed for 77 yards to lead the No. 6 East Mississippi Community College Lions past Jones Community College 28-17 in its home opener Thursday at Sullivan-Windham Field.
Mackey wasted no time moving the football down the field on the Lions'' first possession. Taking the ball on its 27, EMCC mixed two rushing plays by Mackey and passes of 10 and 14 yards to T.J. Ballou and Marcus McQuarley, respectively.
Wide receiver Bill Franks hauled in a 36-yard pass to give the Lions'' a 6-0 lead with barely two minutes elapsed into the contest. Brett Spencer split the uprights for the extra point and a 7-0 lead.
EMCC defensive lineman Claude Davis blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt late in the first quarter by Jacob Chancellor. The Lions failed to capitalize when running back Pat Shed, of Starkville, fumbled at the Jones County 48.
"We turned over the ball a whole lot," EMCC coach Buddy Stephens said. "We can''t play like we did with a good football team like Jones and have so many turnovers. We have to put the game away."
EMCC led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, 21-7 at halftime, and 21-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Mackey, last year''s NJCAA Region 23 Offensive MVP, built the Lions'' lead to 14-0 with a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Derrick Steele. The scoring drive was set up by a 32-yard run by Franks.
"All the receivers caught the ball and played good tonight," Mackey said. "We hit a bunch up the middle and it opened up."
The Bobcats then took the kickoff and rushed twice for minimal yardage and fumbled for a 6-yard loss on third down. On fourth and 16, Jones punted to Lance Lewis, who fumbled the return and Jones County recovered on the Lions'' 22. On the next play, running back Bubba Brown burst up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown. Chancellor''s extra point was good and with 10 minutes, 29 seconds remaining until halftime, EMCC led 14-7.
After connecting with eight receivers last week in a season-opening victory against Copiah-Lincoln, Mackey (19-for-27, 206 yards) hit nine receivers Thursday. Franks led the receivers with five catches for 55 yards. Stephon Johnson had three catches for 44 yards. Ballou (9 yards), McQuarley (39 yards), Lance Lewis (12 yards), Steele (25 yards), and Cedrick Blanks (23 yards) all had two catches.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Jones County''s Chancellor hit a 27-yard field goal with 11:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
EMCC took the ensuing kickoff and marched 60 yards in 10 plays, highlighted by a 26- yard run by Shed down to the Jones County 44. Four plays later, Shed (51 yards) took an inside handoff and ran 14 yards for the Lions'' final score.
"We have to concentrate and have to finish," Stephens said. "I felt like Randall was calmer tonight. We have to start stretching people and playing more vertically."
Spencer, the Lions'' freshman kicker from Amory, hit 4 of 4 extra points.
With less than seven minutes remaining, Jones County mounted its final scoring drive. Starting from its 44, the Bobcats ran the football to the EMCC 24. On second and 10, backup quarterback Brian Robinson hit wide receiver Anthony Jackson. With 3:12 remaining, Justin Gaines ran up the middle for the Bobcats'' final score.
Jones County quarterback Brandon May was 11-for-24 for 119 yards and one interception. He also rushed for 24 yards. Brown led the Bobcats in rushing with 57 yards. Robinson passed for 48 yards in relief and rushed for 56 yards.
"We gave up two touchdown passes," Jones County coach Eddie Pierce said. "We had defensive backs in place to make a play and we just didn''t make a play. They (EMCC) have a great team and a great quarterback they do a great job coaching them."
EMCC will play host to Holmes Community College at 7 p.m. Thursday.
1. Sykes' faith leads him to coach at Starkville Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Lessons learned helped Coggin earn promotion COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Mangum wins SEC batting title COLLEGE SPORTS