ELLISVILLE — It was a wild one.
In a back and forth game saw sixth-ranked Jones coming out on top with a 36-34 thrilling win over fifth-ranked Northwest in a nationally ranked showdown of top ten teams in the MACJC playoffs at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats (9-1) will host top-ranked East Mississippi (10-0) for the MACJC State Championship next Saturday at 2 p.m. Jones will be aiming for its 14th state championship in school history and first since 2001, while East Mississippi will be seeking its seventh state title overall and third in a row.
Jones would strike first on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett to Natorian Watts with 7:59 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
Northwest would tie the game at 7 with 9:35 left in the second quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Free to Braden Smith.
Jones would answer back quickly as Bennett would hit Watts again from 13 yards out to take a 14-7 lead.
The third quarter is when it went from a defensive slug fest to an offensive shoot out.
Northwest (8-2) would outscore Jones 21-9 in the third quarter to go up 28-23 at the heading into the fourth quarter.
Free would throw three touchdown passes for the Rangers in the third quarter, while Jones kicker Cristofer Thompson would kick three field goals.
Jones would retake the lead at 29-28 on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to Gabe Douglas.
Donte Edwards added a 6-yard touchdown run with 7:31 left in the fourth quarter to extend the Bobcat lead to 36-28.
Northwest running back Chris Calvert would score on a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the game to cut the Jones lead to 36-34.
After recovering an onside, Northwest would turn the ball over on downs at the Jones 37-yard line with 24 seconds and that would seal the win for Jones.
Bennett would lead the Bobcat offense going 19 of 27 for 314 yards with three touchdowns. Natorian Watts would be the top receiver catching five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Jacob Free would lead the Northwest offense going 16 of 37 for 248 yards with four touchdowns.
His top target, Braden Smith, would catch eight passes for 140 yards with two touchdowns.
East Mississippi 31, Co-Lin 7
Quarterback Messiah deWeaver would go 28 of 34 passing for 275 yards with a touchdown as the Lions raced the Wolves in the MACJC playoffs.
Running back Deon McIntosh had 105 yards rushing on 22 carries with a touchdown for the Lions.
TyQuan Ulmer and Keon Moore added rushing touchdowns for East Mississippi.
The Copiah-Lincoln score came on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hayden Davis to Demartre Collins.
The Wolves finish the season 6-4.