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Furious second half rally sparks win over Holmes

Furious second half rally sparks win over Holmes

The Mississippi Delta Community College football team trailed Holmes Community College, 35-17, at halftime on Saturday but mounted a major rally in the second half to come back and defeat the Bulldogs, 46-42, in exciting fashion.

Holmes entered Saturday's contest tied for first place in the North division on the strength of a potent rushing attack, but halftime adjustments on the defensive side for MDCC limited the high-scoring Bulldogs to a mere seven points in the final 30 minutes.

The win pushed Delta to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the North division, while Holmes dropped to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the North. The offensive output of 46 points and 487 total yards (302 passing, 185 rushing) of offense were both season highs for MDCC.

Holmes entered Saturday's contest with a vaunted ground attack and in the first half, things were as advertised. Quarterback Kyren Batey got the Bulldogs on the board first with a seven-yard rushing touchdown, and after an Easton Curry point after, Holmes led, 7-0, with 11:08 left in the first quarter.

Delta responded with a rushing touchdown of their own, as Patrick Jackson (Columbus) rumbled in from 25 yards out for the score with 8:34 left in the opening quarter. The point after from Spencer Romero (Brookhaven) was good and the score was knotted at seven apiece.

The Bulldogs moved ahead 14-7 when Devontaye Bankston scored from six yards out with 4:52 in the first quarter, but Romero cut it to a 14-10 Holmes lead when his 21-yard field goal was good with just 17 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

Holmes would extend their lead to 28-10 after another Bankston rushing touchdown (13 yards) with 5:53 left before half and a scoop and score touchdown from Niageria Young on a lost fumble from just three yards out just 12 seconds later.

Delta quarterback Jordan Gilleylen (Tupelo), who entered the contest in the first half in place of the injured Byron Walker (Sulphur, La.) cut the Holmes lead to 28-17 when he found Terrell Coleman (Crosby) on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2:39 left before half.

Martavius Dill would take the ensuing kickoff back to the house for a 91-yard touchdown and the Bulldogs would take a 35-17 lead into the locker room, with things looking bleak for the Trojans in their final home game of 2019. However, the tale of two halves would commence in the third quarter, with MDCC outscoring Holmes, 29-7, in the second half.

With 9:33 left in the third, Gilleylen would hook up with Lebarron Jones (Mobile, Ala.) on a 29-yard touchdown pass, and then with 3:10 left in the same quarter, Gilleylen would connect with Tommy Washington (Yazoo City) on a 40-yard strike for the score. Two Romero PAT's would cut the Holmes lead to 35-31.

Batey added a one-yard touchdown run with just one second left in the third quarter, but that was the final bit of scoring for Holmes, as Delta went for 15 unanswered points in the final quarter. 

Jackson added his second touchdown with 4:53 left in the game with a 17-yard run and the lead would be cut to three after Gilleylen found Jones in the end zone for the two-point conversion.

The eventual game-winning touchdown came in miraculous fashion on the next MDCC possession, when the Trojans were faced with a fourth down from their own 18-yard line. Not only did the Trojans convert the fourth down, but Gilleylen connected with Jones over the middle and the speedy wide receiver took it all the way to the house for an 82-yard touchdown with just 1:18 left in the game. Romero's point after was good and made it a four-point contest, which effectively ended the scoring for the game.

Gilleylen had a monster game, despite not playing the entire contest. The left-handed quarterback finished 16-27 for 284 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. As has been the case for most of the season, Jones was a force among the wide receiver corps, as he finished with five catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had another standout performance as well, finishing with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

On the defensive side, KeShaun Blackmon (Byram) was in the Holmes backfield for most of the game, collecting 10 tackles, including three for loss. He was aided by the likes of KenTerious Owens (Oxford), who had seven tackles on the afternoon.

MDCC will close out the 2019 season on Thursday, making the long haul to Poplarville to face Pearl River Community College in a non-conference battle. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.