Line paves the way for Davis
LEADING THE WAY The Jones Junior College offensive line has paved the way for Ralph Davis (6) of Quitman to gain over 1,200 yards to become the state's leading rusher in 2001. Supporting Davis, from left to right, are: Scott Robertson (43), Patrick Craig (51), Darius Livingston (64), Drew Johnson (62), Johnny Rushing (55) and Mark Barron (63). Photo by Don Hill/Laurel Leader-Call
By Richard Strength/EMG-Laurel Leader-Call
Nov. 16, 2001
ELLISVILLE They toil in anonymity. Their names are unknown to all but the most passionate of Jones Junior College football fans.
The Bobcat offensive line a serious question mark prior to this season has emerged as a key reason the team has won nine games in a row and is playing in the State Championship game Saturday.
Jones will play Mississippi Delta, also 9-1, for the state title at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Moorehead.
The offensive line starters center Drew Johnson, guards Johnny Rushing and Darius Livingston, and tackles Mark Barron and Patrick Craig have formed a unit that has been an integral part of the Bobcats' success.
Of the five interior linemen all sophomores only Rushing (6-3, 330) and Livingston (6-4, 295) could be considered prototypical offensive linemen.
Johnson is 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, Barron is 6-foot-4, 250 and Craig is 6-foot-4 and only 225 pounds. Still, they've paved the way for running back Ralph Davis of Quitman to gain over 1,200 yards this season, which led the state, and protected quarterback Charles Hales, allowing precious few sacks.
Often playing against 300-pound defensive linemen, the unit has ignored limitations to function as a unit to become successful.
we play this week and you guys have a job to do and you've got to get it done. I'm depending on you. We're depending on you to get it done' and they have."
JCJC head coach Parker Dykes credits Pierce's influence with creating a special unit. "I think what makes them special No. 1 is Eddie Pierce," said Dykes. "He teaches them camaraderie. He works them hard, they develop a pride in themselves and it shows on Saturdays when they play.
Under Pierce, the offensive line seems to outwork opponents and uses superior technique and quickness to gain an advantage. "We're not basically a smash-mouth team," said Pierce. "We're more of a finesse bunch staying on our feet, staying with our blocks they've done a good job doing that.
The Bobcats seem unfazed by the size difference between them and most of the defensive linemen they play.