Bassfield Yellowjackets clinch South State Championship
By Bobby L. Wilson – BHS sports
For the third time in five years the Bassfield Yellowjackets are once again Mississippi’s 2A South State Champions in MSHAA football. Back-to-back wins over cross-county rival East Marion provided the win this round.
What many thought would be a repeat of the last two years in the South State game, would not be that way this time. As reported in last weeks’ article, it was felt that this would be “second verse, same as the first”.
And by the score of 48-6 late into the game, it was almost identical to 2013 round one in divisional play.
The Jackets will play Calhoun City this coming Friday, December 6 at 3 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
The Jackets nearly perfect season of 14-1, marred only by a bad day at the office at Jackson Prep, has gone from winning games to total dominance in every game since that (un)fateful Friday night in October.
Bassfield Yellowjackets have compiled 186 points in the four playoff games while giving up only 41 points, mostly by the JV when the games were out of control – 660 points scored in 15 games, while giving up only 149. A high-powered offense that in the last 10 games-simply put-destroyed teams offensively early and cruised the rest of the game. It could be labeled “shock and awe” to opposing teams.
Calhoun City started the year 3-3 then went on a 9 game winning streak that has brought them to the challenge of the Yellowjackets this Friday. After going .500 in six games, the next four games became a test for the Wildcats. Although they won all of the next four, they struggled, and won three of those by less than 7 points.
Once to the playoffs, the Wildcats rolled, giving up only 20 points in the playoffs while scoring 143. The Wildcats have two seniors that are Jacket-fast, each run a 4.5 forty-yard dash. The Wildcats run a no huddle offense for the most part, playing fast and furious. Coach Liles, Head Coach of Calhoun City told reporters at the beginning of the season “I would not want to defend our offense”.
The Jackets arrived at the opportunity to play this Friday afternoon by annihilating the Eagles of East Marion and doing it quickly. The offense of the Jackets put this game on ice in 2:09 seconds of the first quarter by scoring 14 points before the Eagles knew the game had even started.
The only thing the Eagles would win this night was the coin toss electing to defer and give the Jackets offense the ball first. The game began the minute the buzzer went off after the last game of the regular season as the players walked off the field. Each player from each team knowing in the back of their minds that this game would continue, another day in the near future and thus the game within the game never ended.
Taking the opening kickoff, the Jackets ran for nine yards, threw an incomplete pass and then out of the cannon shot AJ Moore for 59 yards – touchdown Jackets, PAT by Mancuso good, Jackets 7-0.
One offensive play by East Marion after starting their series with a delay of game, and the ball hit the ground with Curtis Mikell fumbling at the 35-yard line.
A picture perfect-pass to the two-yard line from CJ Moore to Jamal Peters, a two-yard run by T-Rod Daniels and suddenly the Jackets were up 14-0.
East Marion started the next series with some strange formations that netted 10 yards in four plays then illegal substitution penalty, illegal procedure penalty, a three-yard pass, a nine-yard sack and a -5 yard run before they faked a punt on 4th and 27 yards at their own 28-yard line. The sack of the punter at the 12-yard line gave the Jackets easy pickings.
T-Rod took over on this drive and ran the ball three consecutive times scoring the third touchdown of the early first quarter. Mancuso’s kick made it 21-0 with 4:51 left in Q1.
Again nothing for the Eagles and this time a punt and a return to midfield by T-Rod.
It took only two more plays, a 10 yard pass and then a 40 yard run by #40 as the Jacket Express rolled down the field like a runaway train. Mancuso’s kick failed, but the Jackets were dominating the Eagles 27-0 with less than 10 minutes played in the first quarter.
Ten plays, nine minutes 28 seconds, and 27 points, and this game was over by the time it started!
The Jackets finally didn’t score on a drive in this game after a dropped pass forced a turn over on downs, but not to worry, the Fab 5 of 2013 all playing defense, stopped East Marion right in their tracks, three and out.
It took six plays before T-Rod scored his third touchdown of the first half with a one-yard run. The ball was truly bouncing in the Jackets favor. The play before Rachaud Green fumbled at the seven-yard line and AJ Moore recovered at the one. Mancuso kick was good and the Jackets led 34-0.
Once again East Marion could not muster anything offensively. One good pass play and the rest were negative yards. A great 44-yard punt by Brandon Mancuso would have pinned the Eagles at the four-yard line, but a fumble by East Marion and a recovery by Gerald Reese and the preverbal final nail was driven.
AJ Moore scored his third touchdown of the evening and the Jackets were up 41-0.
The greatest threat by the Eagles came on their last drive of the first half as the Jackets defense prepared for a passing attack, but the Eagles ran off a good 48-yard run. Getting to the 10-yard line as the half ran out, and no points for East Marion in the first half.
The second half started bad and good for East Marion. The bad was a three-and-out and a punt back to the Jackets offense. The good news for the Eagles is that their defense forced the first turnover of the evening for the Jackets by knocking the ball out of CJ’s hand as he started to pass.
The Eagles finally put points on the board, but not before a stellar defense forced a fourth-and-seventh at the five-yard line. A late hit out of bounds by the Jackets gave East Marion what most thought would be first and goal after a penalty of half the distance, but the half distance was not enough for a first down, forcing the fourth down play.
East Marion’s quarterback rolled left to pass to the corner of the end zone, retreated, came full circle at the 28-yard line and threw up a desperation pass as he was getting sacked to a left-alone receiver in the end zone. A poor PAT attempt and the Jackets were still up 41-6.
The Jackets took the kickoff and finished off a clock-eating drive of almost five minutes, marching 71 yards finished with a one-yard dive up the middle by CJ Moore. Jackets led 48-6.
Though it was said that the Jackets were not a 48-6 better team than East Marion after the last game that ended 48-6 by a lead reporter in a nearby city, apparently they are and were.
The last playing of the first team came on defense as two of the Fab 5 showed the Eagles who they were. Jamal Peters batted an attempted pass back behind the Eagles quarterback, as CJ batted the quarterback to the ground.
The JV for Bassfield finished the night, while East Marion continued to play with Varsity players. The highlight was 4’10” freshman Tracey Easterling going high in the air playing cornerback to bat a touchdown pass from a 6’ Eagle receiver. Bravo to the little guy!
East Marion finally put together a complete drive against the JV and scored once again and converted a two point conversion to make the final score 48-14.
AJ said after the game “all we wanted to do was repeat, put a stop to the head of the snake (the quarterback) and win this game-and that’s what we did.”
“Proud of you, …train has not reached its destination yet, one more week of preparation. It’s all about sacrifice, preparation (and that’s) sending you to Jackson,” Mancuso told his team with pride as they huddled one last time for the senior class of 2014.
Regardless of the outcome of this Friday’s game, the fans, family, and all involved have had a special privilege in watching history being made. Most of us, in our remaining lives, will never have the opportunity to witness what we saw this year: Five D-1 players on the same team at the same time, amazing!
By the numbers:
Jackets – 479 yards offense
Jackets – 310 yards rushing
AJ Moore – 6 carries for 119 yards and 3 TD’s
T-Rod Daniels – 15 carries for 113 yards and 3 TD’s
Rachaud Green – 5 carries for 116 yards
East Marion – 77 yards rushing, 147 yards passing
Thank you Bassfield High School Yellowjacket 2013 football team and staff for memories that will last a lifetime!