After losing two consecutive games by a combined eight points, Coahoma Community College jumped out to a two-touchdown lead at home against Holmes Community College it never relinquished Thursday night.
The Tigers (2-2) defeated the Bulldogs 26-14.
“It feels really good,” said CCC coach Travis Macon. “I feel like we let two of them get away from us and, to finally get back on track, it felt good. I’m more happy for the kids because they did play hard. And they played hard in both games, but this game we finished. Like we talked about in practice every day, finishing the game. Tonight, they did finish so I was very proud of them.”
The Tigers lost at Northeast Mississippi Community College 13-10 after falling behind 10-0 early. CCC then lost at home to Itawamba Community College 19-14 after falling behind 19-7.
Freshman receiver Marvin Sanders from Madison Palmer High School got things going on the game’s opening kickoff returning the ball to the Holmes 24. Freshman quarterback Joe Johnson from Vicksburg completed a pass to freshman receiver Von Hill from Pensacola, Fla., two plays later for 23 yards.
That gave the Tigers a first and goal.
Johnson finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper with 13:30 remaining in the first quarter. Freshman kicker Noah Sisk from Booneville High School missed the PAT, so the Tigers led 6-0.
A Sisk field goal attempt was blocked later in the quarter giving Holmes the ball just past the CCC 50-yard-line.
Freshman linebacker Donte Starks recovered his first of three fumbles the next play giving CCC possession at its own 45 with 3:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Johnson capped off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run with three seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Sisk’s PAT extended the lead to 13-0.
“Well, I think the (previous two weeks) we started off slow and this game we had something big happen early,” Macon said. “This team will play. Because we’re young, we always wait to that big play to happen. Tonight, the big play happened on special teams. We had the opening kickoff return. He ran it all the way across the 50. That’s what got us going – the big play.”
Johnson was the starting quarterback in place of Bryce Wallace from Pulaski, Tenn. It was a coach’s decision.
“We had a plan for this week,” Macon said. “We got the plan and it got rolling, so we were glad Joe stepped up to the table and he did really good for us.”
Macon said the team would practice, go back to the drawing board and he would determine who would be the starting quarterback next week.
Holmes cut CCC’s lead to 13-7, but Starks recovered his second fumble at the Bulldogs 29 with 1:38 remaining in the first half.
Sisk missed a field goal attempt with 41 seconds remaining, but an offside penalty gave CCC a first down.
Sisk capitalized with a 23-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give the Tigers a 16-6 halftime edge.
Starks recovered his third fumble at the CCC 48 with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter.
“He played lights out,” Macon said. “He had a really good week of practice. It looked just like practice. He was flying around in practice and was flying around tonight. But he’s been flying around all year. He’s been doing good for us.”
Also standing out was MACCC defensive player of the week freshman defensive back Marlon Windham from Noxubee High School. He finished with six tackles, four sacks and four tackles for losses.
But Holmes managed to keep it close throughout the night.
An early third quarter touchdown cut CCC’s lead to 16-14.
A Sisk 34-yard field goal with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter extended the lead to 19-14.
The Tigers recovered a fumble at midfield on a Bulldogs fake punt attempt with 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Freshman running back Markell Young ran for a 50-yard touchdown the very next play. Sisk’s PAT extended the lead to 26-14, which would go on to be the final score.
CCC is scheduled to make up its game against Mississippi Delta Community College Thursday night. The game will be at CCC with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m.
In a year with the COVID-19 pandemic and many teams having to cancel their seasons, Macon felt fortunate CCC would play at least five games.
“It means a lot because I’ve got a young football team, so the more we can get on the field and get game time experience, it’s really big for the program and this football team,” Macon said. “We get a chance to evaluate them and just keep getting tape on them.”
“Go Tigers!” Macon concluded.