ELLISVILLE — Kylan Garrett stood out among a talented group of wideouts during his debut with the Northeast Mississippi Community College football team.
Garrett had 100 yards receiving to lead the Tigers offensively. However, host Jones College took advantage of a handful of Northeast miscues to claim a 41-17 win on Thursday, September 2 at Sim Cooley Field.
It is the second consecutive season opener in which a Northeast receiver recorded at least 100 yards. Cam Coleman pulled the trick last fall with 113 yards in a victory over Holmes Community College.
The Independence High School graduate did most of his work after the break. Five of his seven catches came in the second half, including a 57-yard reception that led to a touchdown by Goldman Butler, VI two plays later.
“I’m not gonna lie, it feels kinda unreal,” said Garrett. “I always knew it was in me. I’ve been getting a lot of good reps in this week at practice. We’ve just been having a good vibe.”
The Tigers’ first points of the 2021 campaign came on a 33-yard field goal by John Ellis Murrah at the 12:17 mark of the second quarter. He had a great night overall with three punts that landed inside the 20-yard line and one touchback in four kickoffs.
Northeast cut its deficit to 14-10 two possessions later when starting quarterback AC Graham scampered into the end zone from four yards out. Keyshawn Cobb set up the score with a solid punt return into Bobcat territory.
Butler’s four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter came on just his third touch of the contest. The Biggersville High School alumnus was one of six Tigers (0-1) to register at least two carries against Jones.
Four turnovers and a pair of special teams scores by the Bobcats doomed Northeast in a battle of nationally ranked programs. Jones was No. 13 in the JCGridiron Dirty 30 preseason poll while the Tigers were just two spots behind at No. 15.
“Overall, I thought we played hard,” Northeast head coach Greg Davis said, “At the end of the day, we just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. You’ll never win a ball game when you’re spotting somebody 14 points.”
Graham, who joined the Tigers from Jacksonville State (Ala.) University, accumulated 159 yards of total offense between passing and rushing. Tam Patterson paced Northeast’s rushers with nine carries for 67 yards.
Carter Bonds and Jamarcus Smith, who were the Tigers’ top two tacklers one year ago, were at the forefront of the defensive effort as usual. Bonds had a game-high nine stops plus one sack while Smith added eight takedowns and a forced fumble.
Marcus Rule accounted for the first takeaway of the new season for Northeast with an interception in the second period. The Tigers held the Bobcats (1-0) to just 8 of 23 passing for 82 yards as a unit.
“There were some bright spots in there,” said Davis. “I thought the defense played pretty well. We’ve got to get our rhythm on offense. I thought AC did a good job of trying to manage it. We’ll get them rolling.”
Northeast begins the home portion of its schedule by welcoming defending Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) South Division champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Thursday, September 9. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.