| SCOOBA – The second-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College scored 35 unanswered, second-half points to claim their second MACJC state football championship in three years with a 42-17 home triumph over No. 5 and defending state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast CC Saturday afternoon at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
The second-ranked EMCC Lions captured their second MACJC/NJCAA Region 23 football championship in three years by posting a 42-17 home victory over fifth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast CC Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus.
In matching their school-best, 11-win season of two years ago when they captured the 2009 state title with a memorable 75-71 shootout victory over MGCCC, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 11-0 EMCC Lions will now wait until the NJCAA’s pre-bowl season rankings come out on Monday to find out whether or not they’ve done enough to bypass current No. 1 Arizona Western College in the rankings.
The NJCAA’s six post-Thanksgiving bowl games will be able to invite and announce their selections on Tuesday at noon CST. With their state championship, the EMCC Lions earn an automatic invitation to compete in the Mississippi Bowl, set for Sunday, Dec. 4, at Biloxi Indians Stadium. However, East Mississippi would have the option of entertaining other bowl game opportunities if it means playing for a national championship. Arizona Western will serve as hosts for the 2011 El Toro Bowl, to be played Saturday, Dec. 3, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma, Ariz. In the 2009 Mississippi Bowl, EMCC posted a 27-24 victory over the AWC Matadors.
Much like they did a week ago in their 55-24 playoff-opening home win over then-No. 14 Hinds CC, the EMCC Lions used a dominating second-half performance to pull away with Saturday’s win over visiting Gulf Coast. After trailing the Bulldogs, 17-7, four minutes into the second half, the Lions exploded for five unanswered touchdowns, including four scores in the final period, to cruise to their seventh victory of the year over an opponent that is either currently ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 or was ranked at some point during the 2011 campaign. Last week against Hinds, EMCC used a 28-0 second-half surge to blow open a 27-24 halftime lead against the visiting Eagles.
The home team got on the board first when Lacoltan Bester snared his first of three touchdown grabs on the day via a 32-yard hookup with freshman quarterback Bo Wallace at the 10:12 mark of the opening period. Just over four minutes later, Gulf Coast quarterback Clint Hatten connected with receiver Travonta Thomas from 26 yards out to even the score at 7-all with 6:02 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs ate up nearly half of the second-quarter game clock with a 16-play drive that was halted at the 5-yard line but culminated with a 22-yard field goal by Taylor Pontius. Both teams had chances to put up additional points over the final five minutes of the half. Wallace’s 1-yard sneak into the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play with 5:08 left was nullified by an illegal procedure penalty and resulting 15-yard unsportsmanlike infraction. Taylor Walker’s subsequent 37-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by MGCCC. Another 16-play Gulf Coast drive milked the remaining 4:55 off the game clock, though the Bulldogs’ 25-yard field-goal try failed when a bad snap was bobbled by the holder and the ensuing desperation pass was picked off by an EMCC defender in the end zone on the final play of the half.
With East Mississippi trailing at the intermission for the first time on the year, the visitors from Perkinston added to their 10-7 halftime lead when running back Reginald Matthews barreled in from a yard out to put the Bulldogs out in front by a 17-7 margin four minutes into the second stanza.
Following an empty possession by EMCC and a missed 48-yard field-goal attempt by Gulf Coast, the Lions’ potent offensive attack got rolling toward the end of the third quarter. Wallace capped a 13-play drive with a 3-yard strike over the middle to Bester with 1:31 left in the third quarter to bring EMCC to within a field goal at 17-14.
The Lions’ new-found momentum was temporarily sidetracked on the ensuing kickoff when Gulf Coast’s Alonzo Lawrence returned the kick to EMCC’s 37-yard line. After forcing a field-goal attempt, the home team reclaimed the momentum as Pontius’ 30-yard three-point try drifted left with 13:23 remaining in the contest.
Having entered the championship contest averaging 47.2 points per game, East Mississippi’s quick-strike offensive unit exploded for four straight touchdowns over an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter to put away the contest in impressive fashion. That explosion ignited when the Lions re-established the lead for good, 21-17, as a scrambling Wallace heaved the ball toward the end zone and Bester made an acrobatic catch from 21 yards out for his third touchdown catch of the day with 10:10 left in the contest.
Bester, a former Kemper County High School standout, celebrated his 20th birthday by collecting nine receptions for 139 yards, including the trio of scoring grabs. Approaching 1,000 receiving yards on the season, Bester now has 15 touchdown receptions for the year.
The momentum further turned in favor of the home team on the ensuing Gulf Coast possession when Hatten’s fumble on the second play of the drive was recovered near midfield by EMCC freshman safety Justin Cox. Eight plays later, Wallace hit running back Rodriguez Moore on the right wing, who scooted the remaining five yards for his first touchdown reception of the year. Moore, from Bastrop, La., added to his 1,124-yard rushing total on the season with 61 yards on 18 carries against the Bulldogs, including his 13-yard scoring burst on the ground that made it a 35-17 contest with 2:31 left in the game.
EMCC’s final points of the afternoon came on the next play from scrimmage when sophomore defensive back Jeremy Cannon picked off Hatten’s pass near midfield and raced 49 yards to pay dirt for his second interception of the year. The former West Point High School standout had previously scored this year on a 67-yard fumble recovery in the Lions’ 45-42 road win over then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi during the third week of the season.
Wallace, who redshirted last season at Arkansas State University, added to his NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year candidacy by throwing for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 29-of-46 passing for the day. In doing so, the Pulaski, Tenn., native eclipsed a pair of decade-old NJCAA single-season statistical standards. Wallace entered the game needing 232 passing yards to break the previous mark of 4,001 yards set by Marc Dunn of Ricks College in 2000, while also needing 114 yards of total offense to surpass the prior record of 4,075 yards established by Will Hall of Northwest Mississippi CC in 2000 as well.
As a team, the Lions also established a new NJCAA single-season standard for most yards of total offense. With 477 yards against Gulf Coast on Saturday, EMCC has now accumulated 6,085 yards of total offense on the year, bettering the previous mark of 5,657 set by Dixie College (Utah) back in 1996.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 November 2011 )
| SCOOBA – In a classic rematch between national Top 5 teams with state bragging rights on the line and national championship implications in the mix, the second-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College (10-0) will play host to No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (9-1) Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus to determine the 2011 state football champions of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
In a rematch of the 2009 MACJC state football championship, won by EMCC 75-71, the second-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will play host to No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast CC Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for the 2011 state title is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
Saturday’s MACJC state championship contest from Scooba will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard set to describe the play-by-play action and John Lyle Briggs serving as the Lions’ sideline reporter. The live video-streamed broadcast will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-football and can be accessed through EMCC’s athletics website - http://athletics.eastms.edu. An alternate audio stream of the radio broadcast will also be available by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com. In addition, NJCAATV will be streaming the state title game live online at www.njcaatv.ihigh.com.
Saturday’s EMCC-MGCCC rematch will pit the past two MACJC state football champions, with the Bulldogs claiming last year’s championship over Copiah-Lincoln and the Lions capturing East Mississippi’s first-ever state football title with their memorable 75-71 shootout victory over Gulf Coast during the 2009 state title game played in Scooba. These two inter-divisional football rivals also kicked off the current campaign and opened EMCC’s new $4.7 million, 5,000-seat Sullivan-Windham Field back on Sept. 1, as the home-standing Lions downed then-No. 2 MGCCC, 34-30, en route to recording their first undefeated regular season in the school’s storied football history.
The winner of Saturday’s MACJC gridiron title bout will garner an automatic invitation to compete in the Mississippi Bowl, set for Sunday, Dec. 4, at Biloxi (Miss.) Indians Stadium. With six other post-Thanksgiving NJCAA postseason bowl games on the agenda, the EMCC-MGCCC victor could very well play themselves into the national championship picture. These half-dozen bowl games will be able to invite and announce their selections on Tuesday (Nov. 15) at noon CST.
Ranked second nationally in the NJCAA Top 20 national poll for the second time in three seasons, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 10-0 EMCC Lions presently trail top-ranked Arizona Western College by five voting points (137-132). The undefeated (10-0) AWC Matadors, who will serve as hosts for this year’s El Toro Bowl (Dec. 3 in Yuma, Ariz.), take on Mesa CC (1-9) Saturday for the second time this season.
Other teams still in the NJCAA football title hunt include third-ranked Butler Community College (9-1) of Kansas, who will play host to No. 8 Hutchinson (Kan.) CC (8-2) in Sunday’s championship game of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, along with fourth-ranked and undefeated (10-0) Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College.
With three MACJC North Division championships in four years, the Lions of East Mississippi have compiled an impressive 34-8 (.810) collective overall record during Stephens’ four seasons at the EMCC helm. Two of those eight losses have come at the hands of Mississippi Gulf Coast. Two years ago, the Lions avenged their 43-26 regular-season home setback to MGCCC with their 2009 state title game triumph in Scooba. Last season, the Bulldogs claimed a 40-21 home victory over EMCC in the season-opener played in Perkinston.
As this year’s East Mississippi squad bids to match the 2009 club’s school-record, 11-win total in Saturday’s state title game, EMCC freshman quarterback Bo Wallace is on target to break two single-season NJCAA records this season as a leading candidate for NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors. The former Arkansas State University redshirt needs 232 passing yards to eclipse the current national mark of 4,001 passing yards set by Marc Dunn of Ricks College in 2000. Wallace, from Giles County High School in Pulaski, Tenn., is also 114 yards shy of surpassing the current NJCAA season standard of 4,075 yards of total offense held by Will Hall of Northwest Mississippi CC (2000). For the season, Wallace has thrown for 3,770 yards on 276-of-412 (67%) passing with 42 touchdowns, while having compiled 3,962 yards of total offense, including five rushing touchdowns, on the year.
On the receiving end of Wallace’s aerials, the Lions boast four sophomore pass-catchers with 40 or more receptions apiece for the season. Former Kemper County standout Lacoltan Bester ranks among the Top 5 nationally with 59 receptions, 841 receiving yards and 12 touchdown catches. Former Meridian High School teammates JJ Harbin and Hamp Glover have 45 and 40 receptions, respectively, and have combined for 13 touchdown catches, while Rodney Davis (Millbrook, Ala.) is averaging just under 20 yards per catch on 41 receptions with nine scoring grabs.
With a sophomore-laden offensive line paving the way, EMCC’s balanced offensive attack, averaging 47.2 points per game on the year with five outings of 54 points or more over the last six games, also features 1,000-yard rusher Rodriguez Moore in the backfield. The freshman from Bastrop, La., ranks fifth nationally with 1,124 rushing yards on the season after putting together four straight 100-yard performances down the stretch. Along with 200-yard rushing efforts during the regular season against Holmes (214) and Hinds (202), Moore also has 35 receptions for the year.
East Mississippi’s stout defensive unit is headlined by sophomore defensive end Denico Autry, who leads the way with 72 total stops (46 solos & 26 assists) on the year, including eight sacks and 11 other tackles for loss for a collective total of 90 yards lost. The NJCAA All-America candidate from Albemarle, N.C., has also been credited with 39 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a pair of pass breakups.
Leading the Lions’ linebacker corps has been sophomore Michael Pack, of Meridian, with 68 total stops (48 solos & 20 assists) and three pass interceptions. In EMCC’s defensive secondary, freshmen Shaquille Fluker and Jason Yarbor, of Meridian, have combined for 111 total tackles, four pass interceptions and 15 pass breakups. Freshman Justin Cox, a Mississippi State signee from West Point, tops all Lion defenders with five pass interceptions, including three picks in his collegiate debut against Gulf Coast, while fellow West Point High School product Jeremy Cannon has been credited with a team-high 11 pass breakups along with eight tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Since dropping their 34-30, season-opening decision at EMCC, the Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College have reeled off nine consecutive victories, including last week’s 20-17 overtime home triumph over Northeast Mississippi in their playoff opener. Head coach Steve Campbell’s MGCCC squad clinched the MACJC South Division’s No. 1 seed by claiming a 35-26 home win over Hinds during the regular-season finale played in Perkinston.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 November 2011 )
SCOOBA – Thursday’s men’s basketball game between seventh-ranked East Mississippi Community College and Meridian Community College in Scooba has been postponed until a later date, as announced Wednesday by EMCC athletic officials.
The EMCC-Meridian basketball doubleheader to be played in Scooba is now slated for Feb. 13 with tip-off times set for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The two schools are also scheduled to meet in Meridian on Jan. 12 for doubleheader hoops action beginning at 6 p.m.
The EMCC Lady Lions will play at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa on Monday (Nov. 14). Next home action for the East Mississippi basketball teams will be next Thursday (Nov. 17), as East Central Community College visits the Scooba campus for a men’s/women’s hoops doubleheader. A 5:30 p.m. women’s contest will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. men’s game at EMCC’s Currie Coliseum.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 November 2011 )
| SCOOBA – In preparation of making their second state championship game appearance in three years, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College have moved into the No. 2 position in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 national football poll.
Moving up to No. 2 nationally in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football poll, the 10-0 EMCC Lions will bid for their second MACJC state football championship in three years by playing host to fifth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for the MACJC’s 2009 state title rematch is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
Having already made school history by recording the football program’s first-ever undefeated regular season, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 10-0 EMCC Lions will play host to the fifth-ranked Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (9-1) Saturday afternoon for this year’s state football championship of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). Kickoff at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field is set for 2 p.m. on the Scooba campus.
One win shy of matching the school’s all-time mark of 11 victories registered by Stephens’ 2009 state championship club, this year’s EMCC squad advanced to Saturday’s upcoming title game by claiming a 55-24 home triumph over then-No. 14 Hinds CC this past Saturday in Scooba. Gulf Coast comes to Scooba following a tough 20-17 overtime home playoff win over Northeast Mississippi.
After holding steady at the No. 3 position since the beginning of October, the EMCC Lions continue to sit behind new No. 1 Arizona Western College, which received four of this week’s seven first-place votes after previously top-ranked Blinn College (Texas) fell to No. 7 in this week’s poll following its 37-34 playoff loss to Tyler JC (Texas). With EMCC trailing AWC by just five total voting points (137-132) heading into the final week prior to the start of the bowl season, the Lions will bid to further impress poll voters and bowl game committees with Saturday’s state championship showdown against fifth-ranked and reigning state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast. Undefeated Arizona Western will conclude its pre-bowl slate Saturday by taking on Mesa Community College (1-9) for the second time this season.
This week’s Top 5 of the NJCAA national poll also has Butler Community College (Kan.) and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College each inching up one spot apiece to third and fourth, respectively. Along with No. 5 MGCCC and seventh-ranked Blinn, the NJCAA’s current Top 10 is also comprised of New Mexico Military Institute at No. 6, eighth-ranked Hutchinson Community College (Kan.) along with Navarro College (Texas) and Rochester Community & Technical College (Minn.) at No. 9 and 10, respectively.
With East Mississippi’s 2011 football schedule having come full circle, the Lions kicked off the current campaign and opened their new $4.7 million, 5,000-seat football facility by claiming a 34-30 home triumph over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast back on Sept. 1. Pitting the past two state junior college football champions in front of an EMCC home crowd in excess of 4,000 spectators, this year’s earlier gridiron battle resulted in the same margin of victory and ended in the same fashion – a game-ending interception by the EMCC defense - as the Lions’ memorable 75-71 regulation shootout victory over the Bulldogs in the 2009 MACJC state championship contest played in Scooba.
The winner of Saturday’s MACJC state championship game will earn an automatic invitation to compete in the Mississippi Bowl, to be hosted by Mississippi Gulf Coast at Biloxi Indians Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 4 in Biloxi. Two years ago, EMCC’s 2009 state championship squad earned a 27-24 Mississippi Bowl victory over Arizona Western when the Lions and Matadors were ranked fifth and sixth nationally, respectively.
Other NJCAA football bowl games slated for this year include: Graphic Edge Bowl (Nov. 20 in Cedar Falls, Iowa); Valley of the Sun Bowl (Dec. 3 in Phoenix, Ariz.); C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl (Dec. 3 in Copperas Cove, Texas); Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl (Dec. 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah); Salt City Bowl (Dec. 3 in Hutchinson, Kan.); El Toro Bowl (Dec. 3 in Yuma, Ariz.); and Citizen’s Bank Bowl (Dec. 4 in Pittsburg, Kan.).
East Mississippi’s current No. 2 NJCAA football ranking marks the second time in three years that the Lions have been in the runner-up spot nationally. Two years ago during EMCC’s run toward a school-first state football championship, the 2009 Lions squad held the No. 2 position in the NJCAA poll for two weeks early in the year before dropping a 43-26 home decision to Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Previously during the storied tenure of Hall of Fame football coaching legend Bob “Bull” Sullivan, the 1950 East Mississippi football team earned a No. 2 national ranking during Sullivan’s first season at the Lions helm. The following decade under Sullivan’s direction, the Lions garnered No. 3 national rankings during back-to-back seasons in 1963 and 1964.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 08 November 2011 )
NICEVILLE, Fla. – Stepping out of state to take on national tournament-caliber competition, the East Mississippi Community College basketball teams both dropped road decisions to host Northwest Florida State College Saturday night in the Quality Inn Classic. Following the Lady Lions’ 57-53 setback to the host team, the seventh-ranked EMCC Lions dropped an 88-67 decision to No. 11 NWF State in the tournament nightcap held at The Arena.
In the women’s contest, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions trailed the entire game but rallied late to cut it to a one-possession contest. Down 27-18 at the halftime break and trailing by double digits (54-44) with 2:15 remaining in the game, EMCC took advantage of an NWF State technical foul and converted four straight free throws to cut the deficit to 55-53 with six seconds left. However with EMCC forced to foul, JoAnna Harden stepped to the line with two ticks remaining and sank a pair of charity tosses to seal the victory for the home-standing Lady Raiders.
Freshman standout Jeraldine Campbell, of Noxubee County, posted her second straight 20-point outing for the Lady Lions, hitting for 28 points against NWF State to account for more than half of her team’s points. Former Northwest Florida State transfer guard Alvida Clemons added 10 points for the EMCC women. In addition to hitting 10-of-11 free throws and 8-of-21 from the field, Campbell also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. With both tournament losses this past weekend in Florida coming against perennial NJCAA Tournament participants by a combined total of just five points, the 0-2 EMCC Lady Lions return to action on Nov. 14 against Shelton State CC in Tuscaloosa.
In Saturday’s tournament nightcap, head coach Mark White’s Lions got down early but managed to knot the score at 26-all with 7:23 remaining in the opening half. However, the home-standing Raiders outscored EMCC, 16-6, the rest of the half to maintain a 42-32 halftime advantage. The visiting Lions continued to fight an uphill battle throughout the second stanza. After EMCC cut the deficit to seven points (56-49) by the 11:42 mark, NWF State responded with nine unanswered points to essentially put away the contest.
Sophomore point guard D.J. Evans, of Brandon, paced East Mississippi with 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. Transfer forward Colin Borchert was EMCC’s other double-digit scorer with 10 points, though the Arizona native struggled with foul trouble and was held to 3-of-11 shooting from the field.
As a team, the Lions were slowed by 22 turnovers and poor free-throw shooting. Along with attempting 10 fewer charity tosses than NWF State for the game, EMCC was only able to make 15-of-31 attempts (48%) from the line.
The 2-1 EMCC Lions return home to play host to rival Meridian Community College on Thursday (Nov. 10). Tip-off at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus is set for 7 p.m.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 November 2011 )