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Jones takes 40-36 thriller vs. ECCC

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
October 21, 2001
DECATUR – East Central Community College and Jones Junior College put on a dandy offensive show Saturday afternoon before the visiting Bobcats left town with a 40-36 MACJC South Division victory.
The win leaves Jones all alone at the top of the league standings at 4-0. The Bobcats, ranked No. 13 in the NJCAA poll, are 6-1 overall. ECCC fell to 3-1 and 5-2.
Some of the home folks began their exit after Jones took a 34-10 lead with 5:32 left in the third quarter. What a finish they missed.
The Warriors ran off 26 straight points to go up 36-34 with 3:10 to play only to have Jones get a 63-yard scoring pass play from Charles Hales to Davon Rodgers with 1:37 left for the win.
It didn't take long to figure out the contest was going to be an offensive showcase despite the teams' defensive reputations.
ECCC scored on the third play of the game when Patrick Prince ran 76 yards. Danny Haynes kicked the extra point.
Jones was back even at 7-7 with 11:15 to go in the opening period as Hales scored on a four-yard run following a 37-yard rumble by Ralph Davis. Nickolas Terracina added the extra point.
The Warriors got a 27-yard field goal from Haynes with 5:44 left in the opening period to take a 10-7 advantage. The score was set up by a fumble recovery by ECCC's John Bibb at the Jones 39.
Rashard Phillips gave the Bobcats the lead with an 18-yard run with 4:25 remaining in the second quarter. Terracina had put ECCC in a deep hole with a punt that was downed at the 1.
The Bobcats were back in business before intermission after Warrior backup quarterback Kevin Stephens lost an exchange from center at the ECCC 18. Hales scrambled under pressure before finding Alonzo Nix wide open in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the first half. Terracina's kick gave Jones a 21-10 midway lead.
Jones got a 22-yard scoring run from Davis and a short fumble return for a touchdown by Bobby Keyes to go up 34-10 with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter.
ECCC began an 83-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter. The Warriors scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a six-yard toss from Brian Zbydniewski to Dee Hornesburger. Haynes' PAT pulled ECCC to within 34-17.
Greed cost the Bobcats another score as ECCC blocked a 47-yard field goal try by Terracina with the Warriors getting possession at the JCJC 43. Zbydniewski hit Prince on a screen pass that turned into a 29-yard score to trim Jones' lead to 34-24 with 8:39 to play.
The Warrior defense held for three plays and ECCC was quickly back in the end zone on a 28-yard reverse pass from Hornesburger to Dontay Spillman with 5:09 remaining. Haynes' missed the PAT, leaving ECCC down 34-30.
But the comeback wasn't over.
Marco Cole set up ECCC's go-ahead score when he picked off a pass by Hales at the Jones 29. A personal foul on the Bobcats put the ball at the 14 where Prince scored on the next play. Haynes misfired again on the extra point, but the Warriors were now up 36-34 with 3:10 showing.
The celebration wouldn't last long, however, as Hales hit Rodgers on a short slant-in and the speedy receiver was 63 yards for the game winner.
Prince led ECCC with 153 yards on 19 carries. Spillman had seven receptions for 87 yards.
Davis had 157 yards on 18 carries for Jones.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3234.

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