EMCC opens di­vi­sion ac­tion at North­west Mis­sis­sippi CC

Starkville Daily News - - SCORECARD -

For Starkville Daily News

SCOOBA – Sec­ond-ranked East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s quest for a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive MACJC North Di­vi­sion reg­u­lar-sea­son foot­ball ti­tle be­gins tonight at North­east Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

Kick­off for the di­vi­sion opener at Tiger Sta­dium in Booneville is set for 6:30 p.m.

With eight di­vi­sion cham­pi­onships (2008-09, 2011-16) in his nine full sea­sons at the Lions helm, 10th-year EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens owns a 51-3 ca­reer reg­u­lar-sea­son mark against MACJC North Di­vi­sion op­po­nents dat­ing back to the 2008 sea­son. The Lions have pre­vailed in 24 con­sec­u­tive di­vi­sion con­tests since drop­ping a 24-23 de­ci­sion at Itawamba to close out the 2012 reg­u­lar-sea­son cam­paign.

En­ter­ing week three sport­ing a 13-game over­all win­ning streak, in­clud­ing last year’s 11-1 state cham­pi­onship sea­son, the EMCC Lions opened the cur­rent cam­paign with home wins over a pair of MACJC South Di­vi­sion op­po­nents. Fol­low­ing a sea­sonopen­ing 47-34 home vic­tory over Jones County, in which Stephens sur­passed Hall of Famer Bob “Bull” Sul­li­van in be­com­ing East Mis­sis­sippi’s ca­reer wins leader, EMCC most re­cently cruised to a 49-10 tri­umph over Mis­sis­sippi Gulf Coast a week ago in Scooba.

This past week against Gulf Coast, the Lions mounted a 35-3 half­time ad­van­tage in com­pil­ing nearly 400 first-half yards of to­tal of­fense en route to the 39-point, mercy-rule win over the Bull­dogs. In­di­vid­u­ally for EMCC, sopho­more run­ning back Tyrell Price rushed for a ca­reer-high 111 yards and four touch­downs on 18 car­ries. LSU trans­fer quar­ter­back Lind­sey Scott Jr. was 14-of-21 through the air for 279 pass­ing yards, in­clud­ing an 84-yard touch­down pass to Ge­or­gia South­ern trans­fer re­ceiver Mike Wil­liams. Fel­low trans­fer re­ceiver Kirk Mer­ritt, from Texas A&M via Ore­gon, had a team-high five catches for 69 yards ver­sus MGCCC.

De­fen­sively a week ago, EMCC held Gulf Coast to less than 3 yards per carry (123 rush­ing yards) af­ter the Bull­dogs ran for 412 yards the week prior against Itawamba. In ad­di­tion to the Lions be­ing cred­ited with 11 tack­les be­hind the line of scrim­mage against MGCCC, in­clud­ing five quar­ter­back sacks, EMCC sopho­more de­fend­ers Quin Jones (29 yards for a touch­down) and Ty Wil­liams (23 yds) also had pass in­ter­cep­tions in the vic­tory.

For the sea­son, EMCC’s Scott ranks sec­ond na­tion­ally with an av­er­age of 354 pass­ing yards per game, while Price is tied with Cisco’s Je­ma­ree Yel­ton atop the na­tion’s lead­ers with five rush­ing touch­downs each for the year. Through the first two games, the Lions have also had 11 dif­fer­ent re­ceivers catch passes. De­fen­sively as a team, EMCC has been cred­ited with 18 tack­les for loss, in­clud­ing eight sacks, and three pass in­ter­cep­tions.

Guided by third-year head foot­ball coach Greg Davis, the Tigers of North­east Mis­sis­sippi are 0-2 for the young sea­son fol­low­ing a pair of tough losses. Af­ter fall­ing dur­ing the fi­nal minute of a 27-21 set­back at Pearl River to open the sea­son, North­east dropped a 27-20 dou­ble-over­time home de­ci­sion to East Cen­tral this past week in Booneville. The Tigers were listed ninth na­tion­ally in the NJCAA’s pre­sea­son rank­ings.

EMCC’s Stephens has recorded an 8-1 ca­reer mark against North­east Mis­sis­sippi, in­clud­ing a cur­rent string of six straight vic­to­ries ver­sus the Tigers. Dat­ing back to the 2011 sea­son, the Lions own three se­ries wins over North­east in Scooba, in­clud­ing last year’s 54-10 home tri­umph (Sept. 15), as well as three vic­to­ries in Booneville. Two years ago (Sept. 17, 2015) at Tiger Sta­dium, EMCC claimed a 56-7 road win over North­east. Prior to that, the Lions pre­vailed over the Tigers dur­ing con­sec­u­tive Scooba meet­ings (59-0 in 2013 and 65-7 in 2014) along with pre­vi­ous back-to-back road wins over North­east in 2011 (63-35) and 2012 (49-0).

Since tak­ing over EMCC’s head coach­ing du­ties in De­cem­ber 2007, Stephens has posted an over­all ca­reer record of 89-12 for an all-time, NJCAA-best .881 win­ning per­cent­age among ju­nior col­lege coaches with 100 or more ca­reer games coached. In ad­di­tion, the Lions are 65-4 over­all (.942) dur­ing the six-plus years dat­ing back to the start of the 2011 sea­son.

To­day’s EMCC-North­east con­test will be broad­cast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crow­der and Char­lie Win­field slated to pro­vide the playby-play and color com­men­tary, re­spec­tively, and Glen Beard set to serve as the Lions’ side­line re­porter. EMCC’s 2017 foot­ball ra­dio broad­casts will also be car­ried live by EMCC’s cam­pus ra­dio sta­tion, WGTC-FM (92.7), orig­i­nat­ing from the Golden Tri­an­gle cam­pus in May­hew.

In ad­di­tion, EMCC’s weekly live videostreamed foot­ball broad­casts will be avail­able in HD at www.EMCCAth­let­ics.com/ live. Al­ter­nate au­dio streams of the ra­dio broad­casts are also avail­able at www.wfca. fm. Fans are also en­cour­aged to fol­low EMCC Ath­let­ics through the col­lege’s ath­let­ics web­site, www.EMCCAth­let­ics.com, and on Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Face­book (@EMCCAth­let­ics) via the school’s so­cial me­dia hub at www.EMCCAth­let­ics.com/ So­cial-Me­dia-Hub.

Photo) (Sub­mit­ted

East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege run­ning back Tyrell Price rushed for a ca­reer high 111 yards last week against Mis­sis­sippi Gulf Coast Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

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