ELLISVILLE — Through the first two games, Robert Henry has been hard to stop.
The Bobcat running back had yet another stellar night as ninth-ranked Jones College held off fifth-ranked East Mississippi Community College 42-28 in a top-10 showdown at Sim Cooley Field on Thursday night.
“I’ve said all year Robert can be as good as he wants to be,” said Jones College coach Steve Buckley. “He’s got a lot of talent and is a special player.”
After rushing for 190 yards with five touchdowns last week, Henry had 219 yards on 31 carries with three touchdowns to lead Jones (2-0).
“It was a big game to begin with so I knew I had to work hard the whole game. It was a slow start, but midway through we started picking it up in the running game,” Henry said. “After halftime we made adjustments with the way they were shifting and the offensive line blocked well, receivers blocked well, so that helped and will continue to do so.”
The Bobcats got on the board first on a 27-yard field goal by Yohan Thompson with 8:05 left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.
Jacob Partridge blocked a Jones punt and Jamori Evans picked the ball up and scampered 17 yards into the end zone to give East Mississippi a 7-3 lead with 3:22 left in the opening quarter.
Jones College quickly responded as Henry scored on an 18-yard run to give the Bobcats a 10-7 lead with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
After Andre Mack blocked a punt two plays later, Henry scored on a 9-yard run with 14:17 left in the second quarter, extending the Jones College lead to 16-7.
After the Lions turned the ball over on downs, Alan Follis found Kendall Coleman on a 22-yard touchdown pass to extend the Bobcat lead to 22-7.
Travor Randle followed that with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown to extend the Bobcat lead to 29-7 with 6:46 left in the second quarter.
To begin the third quarter East Mississippi got two turnovers and scored two quick touchdowns to cut the lead down to 29-21.
But Henry responded with a 69-yard touchdown run with 8:07 left in the third quarter to extend Jones College lead to 35-21.
Starkville’s Amariyon Howard scored on a 3-yard run for EMCC to cut the lead to 35-28 with 13:45 left in the fourth quarter.
Jones College responded with a 55-yard touchdown pass from D.J. Smith to Ashton Nickelberry with 9:30 left in the game to extend its lead to 42-28.
“Made two crucial mistakes in the third quarter, but our kids never flinched, stayed together and kept playing,” Buckley said. “We faced adversity and we responded well. We got to clean some things up and it’s a long season, so we’ve got to continue to get better.”
Eli Anderson had 147 yards passing to lead East Mississippi (1-1).
“Jones has a really good team, and they played well and played hard. We didn’t play a very good football game,” said East Mississippi coach Buddy Stephens. “They had a good game plan, and what we did wrong was my fault, and that’s all on me. We didn’t get the running game going, and we’ve got to establish that. If we don’t learn and get better from this, it’ll be a long year.”
Both teams open division play next week as East Mississippi travels to Holmes, while Jones travels to Copiah-Lincoln.