(Story Courtesy: Sun Herald)SCOOBA– Second-ranked East Mississippi Community College Lions captured the 2013 MACJC/Region 23 championship with a 61-24 victory over No. 4 Jones County Junior College on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan-Windham Field.
The Bobcats turned the ball over six times, including giving up two pass interceptions for touchdowns, and allowed an onsides kick to be returned for a score.
Jones County, 9-2, will now wait and see if they will play in an NJCAA bowl game in December. Official bids will be extended on Tuesday.
East Mississippi, 11-0, will play in the Mississippi Bowl on Dec. 8. for the NJCAA title.
Jones County fell behind 37-0 at halftime, but fought the Lions to a 24-24 standoff in the second half.
Kenny Coleman threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns for the Bobcats. Wide receiver Quartez Cooks had five catches for 99 yards, Dylan Bossier had four catches for 93 yards and a score and Taylor Higgason had two catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Lazarus Shelby, who starts at defensive end for Jones, caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Qua Boyd after he lined up at tight end.
Running back Justin Harris rushed 19 times for 105 yards.
East Mississippi’s Lakenderic Thomas carried 20 times for 169 yards and three scores. Quarterback Dontreal Pruitt threw for 185 yards and two scores and rushed for 51 yards.
The Lions set the tone on the first drive of the game.
They took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 13 plays. On a fourth-and 1, Thomas scored on a 2-yard run. Drew White’s extra point made it 7-0 with 10:16 left in the first quarter.
On East Mississippi’s next possession, Jones County’s Marcus Betts would recover a Lion fumble at his own 47. But after three straight incompletions, the Bobcats would punt the ball away.
Jones County started its next drive at their own 32, but Byerson Cockrell intercepted a Steven Swindle pass and the Lions were in business at the Bobcat 44.
Seven plays later, Pruitt tossed a 3-yard scoring pass to Kameron Myers. White’s extra point made it 14-0 with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
On East Mississippi’s next possession, Betts made a diving interception to stop an East Mississippi drive at the Jones County 7.
But on the next play from scrimmage, Coleman was sacked in the end zone for a safety to make it 16-0 with 14.5 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Lions would take the ensuing free kick, but White would eventually miss a 34-yard field goal.
But three plays after that, East Mississippi’s Christian Russell picked off a Swindle pass and ran it back 27 yards for a touchdown. White’s PAT made it 23-0 with 13:07 left in the first half.
The Bobcats would then take the kickoff and drive from their 25 to the East Mississippi 32. A Coleman pass to Boyd put the ball on the 9-yard line, but it was nullified by an illegal procedure penalty. On the next play, Coleman’s pass was picked off by Demetrius Cain to end the drive.
East Mississippi then drove from their 37 to the Bobcat 20. But Victor Jenkins intercepted a Pruitt pass at the 16 to stop the threat.
The Lions would hold and would take over at the Jones County 46 following a punt.
Three plays later, Pruitt found Brandon Acker for a 27-yard touchdown pass. White’s extra point made it 30-0 with 6:35 left in the second quarter.
Jones County started the next possession at its own 24. But Allen Sentimore would intercept a Swindle pass and return it 44 yards for a touchdown. White’s extra point made it 37-0 with 6:20 left in the first half.