Jones uses Craft-y defense to hold off Hinds

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 28, 2002

RAYMOND If Jones County Junior College coach Parker Dykes had tried to give Nicholas Terracina the game ball for his game winning 40-yard field goal, Randy Craft would have intercepted it.

Craft had two interceptions, one a 23-yard return for a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the other a game closer with no time on the clock, to seal the Bobcats’ 17-14 win over Hinds on Saturday at soggy Joe Renfroe Stadium.

“When Craft intercepted the pass and ran in the end zone, our kids believed we could win again,” Dykes said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

But it was Terracina’s 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining in the game that kept the Bulldogs (6-2) alive for a possible runner-up finish in the JUCO Southern Division.

“I thought it was off, but it hit the goal post and went in,” Eagles receiver Seneca Chambers said. “It hurt.”

The Eagles (4-4) had more punts (12) than rushing yards as Port Gibson native Mason Denham rushed for 11 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Chambers had 125 yards receiving on nine catches and Darius Wilson had 101 yards on six catches and a touchdown.

The receivers’ contributions were not enough in a defensive oriented game that featured the first first down with six minutes remaining in the first quarter, and 23 punts compared to 25 first downs.

With two minutes remaining in the first half, Bobcats quarterback Aaron Leak broke the scoreless tie when he connected with Tyrone Henry on a 66-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.

The score sparked a brief offensive onslaught as the Eagles used four catches and 78 yards receiving from Wilson, including a 18-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Matthews, for a 7-7 tie at the half.

The Bobcats appeared to have found their offensive rhythm on the first drive of the second half and drove 65 yards to the Eagles 3-yard line, but Hinds stuffed the visitors on three straight running plays. A personal foul pushed the Bobcats into a 33-yard field goal attempt that was missed by Terracina.

From there it was a special teams battle until a minute into the fourth quarter when Craft intercepted a Matthews pass and returned it 21 yards for a 14-7 lead.

Denham tied the score at 14 with five minutes remaining in the game on a 5-yard touchdown run.

On the subsequent drive, the Bobcats drove to the Eagles’ 23 yard line and set the stage for Terracina’s 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining.

Craft intercepted the Eagles’ last desperation heave to end the game.

“The special teams played well today, and didn’t make many mistakes,” Dykes said. “It was our day to win.”