GOODMAN – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College achieved school history Thursday night by closing out a first-ever undefeated regular season with a 56-35 road victory over Holmes in MACJC North Division football action at Ras Branch Field.
Set to make their fourth consecutive appearance in the MACJC state football playoffs, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 9-0 EMCC Lions will open this year’s state playoffs Saturday, Nov. 5 by playing host to the loser of Saturday’s first-place South Division battle between Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hinds. Kickoff at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field is slated for 2 p.m.
In Thursday’s regular-season finale at Holmes, the Lions and Bulldogs traded touchdown passes to account for the first-quarter scoring. Visiting EMCC needed just five plays to advance 64 yards in its opening possession to take a 7-0 lead on freshman quarterback Bo Wallace’s 12-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Lacoltan Bester. Late in the period, Holmes’ Dennis Robertson connected with Jonathon Rumph on a 23-yard scoring pass play to knot the score.
The two teams matched short touchdown runs in the second quarter – 2 yards by EMCC’s Rodney Davis and 4 yards by Ladarius Redditt of Holmes – before Lion freshman running back Rodriguez Moore put the visitors on top 21-14 with a 60-yard touchdown scamper down the left sideline at the 7:25 mark.
The home-standing Bulldogs made a serious bid at creating a third deadlock toward the end of the first half of play. After coming up empty on a potential scoring drive with a missed 37-yard field-goal attempt by Mitchell Huff, Holmes’ Cedrick Tillman picked off his first of two interceptions on the night to put the Bulldogs back in business. However, Holmes was stymied following a first-and-goal opportunity from the 7-yard line. On the last play of the half, Redditt was smacked behind the line of scrimmage by EMCC sophomore defensive tackle Damien Jacobs.
Holmes squandered another potential game-tying opportunity on its opening possession of the second half. An 11-play drive was halted inside the red zone when Redditt fumbled at the 15-yard line after making a reception. The Lions proceeded to methodically march 84 yards on 10 plays to double-up the Bulldogs, 28-14, on a 5-yard keeper by Wallace with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter.
Aided by three personal foul penalties called on EMCC during the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs again cut the deficit to one score on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Robertson to Ledrick Patterson at the 4:44 mark.
As they’ve proven throughout the campaign, the Lions’ quick-strike ability was very evident on their next series. After Moore picked up 24 total yards on four straight carries, Wallace found Davis down field for a 35-yard aerial connection with 3:11 left in the quarter. However, in the blink of an eye, EMCC’s two-touchdown lead was cut in half when Tillman returned his second Wallace pick of the night 30 yards to the end zone on the first play of the final quarter to trim the advantage to 35-28.
Confident in their ability to put up points on the scoreboard, the Lions scored twice within a four-minute span to stretch their lead back to a three-touchdown cushion. A 9-yard, Wallace-to-Bester hook-up at the 12:29 mark was followed by an 18-yard scoring run by Wallace with 8:23 remaining in the contest.
The two teams traded scoring runs down the stretch to account for the final, 21-point margin. After Robertson plowed in from 4 yards out with 6:03 left, EMCC’s Moore capped a 204-yard rushing effort (on 18 carries) with a 42-yard breakout run down the left sideline at the 3:37 mark. From Bastrop, La., Moore topped the 100-yard mark on the ground for the third straight game and eclipsed his previous-best effort of 202 rushing yards coming against Hinds during the second week of the season.
Wallace, an All-America candidate, improved his NJCAA-leading touchdowns thrown total to 35 on the year on 23-of-32 passing for 404 passing yards. The former Arkansas State redshirt by way of Pulaski, Tenn., accounted for two other scores via the run in addition to posting his fourth 400-yard passing performance of the season.
Bester, from Kemper County High School, hauled in a game-high eight passes for 110 yards, while raising his team-high touchdown reception total to 11 on the campaign. Davis, a Millbrook, Ala., native, amassed 174 receiving yards on his six catches.
Last Updated ( Friday, 28 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College looks to secure the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season in football competition Thursday night in Goodman, as the third-ranked Lions hit the road to take on division foe Holmes Community College in their regular-season finale. Kickoff at Ras Branch Field is set for 7 p.m. on the Holmes campus.
Head football coach Buddy Stephens leads his third-ranked EMCC Lions to Holmes CC Thursday night in search of securing the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season in football. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Holmes campus in Goodman.
Thursday’s EMCC-Holmes contest will be broadcast live on WFCA-FM Radio, 107.9 out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action along with John Lyle Briggs handling the sideline reporting duties. The game’s live audio-streamed broadcast can be heard via EMCC’s athletics website - http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com. The live video-streamed broadcast is also slated to be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bulldogs-football-2011.
Having secured a fourth consecutive state playoff appearance with their third MACJC North Division regular-season title in four years, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 8-0 EMCC Lions will begin this year’s state playoffs by playing host to the No. 2 seed in the MACJC’s South Division on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Scooba (2 p.m. kickoff). The South Division’s seeds will be determined this Saturday in Perkinston when seventh-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (7-1, 5-0) plays host to No. 10 Hinds (7-1, 5-0). The winner of Saturday’s Gulf Coast-Hinds game will earn the south’s top seed and play host to the No. 2-seeded team from the MACJC’s North Division on Nov. 5.
Ranked third nationally in the NJCAA’s Top 20 national poll for the fourth straight week, East Mississippi received 127 voting points this week, including one first-place vote, to stand behind top-ranked Blinn College (Texas) and Arizona Western College. Blinn and AWC picked up 136 and 134 voting points, respectively, this week, including four and two first-place votes.
Among East Mississippi’s eight victories to date are five wins coming against teams that are either still ranked nationally or have been ranked at some point during the season, including currently ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (#7), Hinds (#10) and Northeast Mississippi (#18). The Lions have an opportunity to possibly face two more ranked opponents during the upcoming state playoffs to further strengthen their resume for a possible shot at this year’s national championship.
Averaging 45.1 points per game on the season, including three outings with 54 or more points over the last four weeks, the EMCC Lions continue to top all NJCAA teams in passing offense and total offense with per-game averages of 379.3 passing yards and 533 yards of total offense for the season. NJCAA All-America quarterback candidate Bo Wallace (Pulaski, Tenn.) leads the nation with 32 touchdown passes thrown and ranks second nationally in passing yardage (2,967) on 217-of-323 (67%) accuracy through the air.
Defensively for EMCC, highly touted Denico Autry (Albemarle, N.C.) tops the Lions’ defensive unit with 55 total tackles (33 solos & 22 assists) from his defensive end position. Rated as one of the top two junior college prospects in the country by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, Autry has been credited with nine tackles for loss and four sacks as well as 32 quarterback hurries on the year. As a unit, the Lions most recently recorded their first shutout victory of the season with a 54-0 homecoming blanking of Mississippi Delta this past Saturday in Scooba.
Guided by first-year head coach Jeff Koonz, the Bulldogs of Holmes Community College are 2-6 overall on the year with both of those victories coming in divisional play (Coahoma and Mississippi Delta) this season. Most recently, Holmes dropped a 66-41 road decision to Northwest Mississippi this past Saturday in Senatobia. Despite allowing 66 points this past week, the Bulldogs continue to lead the MACJC in passing defense by allowing the opposition an average of only 129.1 passing yards per outing. In contrast, Holmes is ranked last in the state by giving up an average of 257 rushing yards per contest for the season.
East Mississippi has prevailed over Holmes in each of the past five gridiron meetings between the two teams, including home triumphs over the Bulldogs both last season (38-14) and two years ago (41-14). In Stephens’ first season (2008) at the EMCC helm, the Lions claimed a 52-14 road victory over Holmes in Goodman.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College clinched their third MACJC North Division regular-season football championship in four years by claiming a 54-0 homecoming victory over the winless Trojans of Mississippi Delta Community College Saturday afternoon at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
The third-ranked EMCC Lions clinched their third division football title in four years with Saturday’s 54-0 homecoming victory over Mississippi Delta. Remaining unbeaten at 8-0 on the year for the first time since 1964, EMCC will look to record the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season Thursday evening (Oct. 27) at Holmes.
Now 32-8 overall and 21-2 in division play under fourth-year head coach Buddy Stephens, the EMCC Lions previously captured back-to-back division crowns in 2008 and 2009. Solidifying a fourth straight state playoff appearance, East Mississippi also secures a first-round hosting opportunity against the MACJC South Division’s second-seeded team in the upcoming state football playoffs. The state semifinals take place Saturday, Nov. 5, at the sites of the respective divisional champions, while the state championship contest will be played the following Saturday, Nov. 12.
With Saturday’s shutout victory over Delta – EMCC’s first shutout win since a 49-0 road triumph over Northeast Mississippi in Stephens’ first season (2008) at the Lions’ helm – this year’s squad matches the 8-0 start that the legendary head coach Bob “Bull” Sullivan’s 1964 East Mississippi club put together en route to a 9-2 campaign. Following a short week of preparation, the Lions will bid for the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season by taking on Holmes Community College Thursday evening (Oct. 27) in Goodman.
In Saturday’s contrasting matchup of the best and worst offenses among the state’s junior college ranks, the home-standing EMCC Lions got things rolling early with four first-quarter touchdowns to jump out front 27-0. On the heels of Rodriguez Moore’s 24-yard touchdown run at the 13:20 mark, EMCC freshman quarterback Bo Wallace later connected with three different wide receivers on scoring pass plays during the opening period.
Following Delta’s first empty possession of the day, EMCC took over near midfield and Wallace needed just two plays to reach pay dirt for the second time in less than three minutes. After Wallace hit Moore with a 15-yard gain, the NJCAA All-American candidate found sophomore receiver Lacoltan Bester, of Kemper County, down the left sideline, who then spun inside around a defender to finish off a 37-yard scoring play with 10:47 left in the quarter.
Wallace, who finished the contest with 25-of-37 passing for 279 yards and four touchdowns through the air, then connected with sophomore receivers Rodney Davis and Jeremy Reed on touchdown tosses of 38 and 34 yards, respectively, to put EMCC in front 27-0 by the conclusion of the opening period.
The best scoring opportunity for the Trojans, who entered the contest having scored a total of just 44 points on the season, came midway through the first half when MDCC quarterback Jeremy Collins hit receiver Raheem Sanders down the left sideline for a 60-yard pass play to the Lions’ 22-yard line. However, EMCC’s defensive unit, which allowed just four first downs on the afternoon, held tight, as freshman linebacker D.J. Jordan, of Starkville, tracked down running back Chris Bolton behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth-and-two effort inside the red zone.
The Lions, who entered the game averaging nearly 44 points an outing on the year, went into the locker room with a 33-0 advantage on Wallace’s 3-yard keeper with 2:22 left until halftime. The scoring run marked Wallace’s first rushing score since scoring twice via the run in EMCC’s season-opening 34-30 home triumph over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Following intermission, Wallace accounted for his fifth touchdown of the day by hitting sophomore receiver Hamp Glover, of Meridian, with a 5-yard aerial over the middle to extend the margin to 40-0 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter. Wallace, who was redshirted a year ago at Arkansas State University, now has 32 touchdown passes on the season and is approaching the 3,000-yard passing mark.
With Mississippi Delta unable to move the ball past midfield during the second half of play, the Lions rang up two more scores in the fourth quarter on running back Xavier Hogan’s 19-yard touchdown run up the middle at the 12:00 mark and defensive back Amos Tatum’s 60-yard interception return with 1:55 left in the contest.
Saturday’s 54-point performance marked EMCC’s third 50-point effort of the year (63 at Northeast Mississippi and 56 vs. Coahoma) and the fifth time the Lions have eclipsed the 50-point mark during Stephens’ four years at the East Mississippi helm.
Statistically on the day, Moore, from Bastrop, La., registered his third 100-yard rushing effort of the year with 102 yards on a dozen carries. Through the air, Bester had five grabs for 81 yards, including his team-leading ninth touchdown reception of the year, while sophomore JJ Harbin, of Meridian, also had five catches for 37 yards.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – Looking to clinch their third MACJC North Division football title in four years, the third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College play host to the Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans Saturday afternoon as part of 2011 Homecoming Weekend on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for the divisional contest is slated for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
The third-ranked EMCC Lions set out to clinch their third divisional football title in four years by playing host to Mississippi Delta Saturday afternoon during homecoming festivities on the Scooba campus. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
As part of this weekend’s homecoming festivities, East Mississippi is set to recognize the school’s 11-member 2011 Sports Hall of Fame induction class at midfield during pre-game activities. In addition, the school’s 2011 Alumnus of the Year recipient and Distinguished Service Award winner will be honored, along with the presentation of EMCC’s 2011 Homecoming Court taking place during halftime of Saturday’s EMCC-MDCC football contest.
Now 31-8 overall and 20-2 in division play under fourth-year head coach Buddy Stephens, the EMCC Lions claimed back-to-back MACJC North Division regular-season championships in 2008 and 2009 with consecutive 6-0 division marks. With a division-clinching victory over visiting Mississippi Delta on Saturday, East Mississippi would also secure a first-round hosting opportunity against the MACJC South Division’s No. 2-seeded team in next month’s state football playoffs. The state semifinals take place Saturday, Nov. 5, at the sites of the respective divisional champions. The state championship contest will be played the following Saturday, Nov. 12.
Bidding for their fourth consecutive state playoff appearance, the EMCC Lions are holding at the No. 3 position for the third straight week in the NJCAA’s Top 20 national poll behind top-ranked Blinn College (Texas) and second-ranked Arizona Western College. However, East Mississippi, with 127 voting points, did collect one of seven first-place votes this week. In addition, the gap between the nation’s top three teams is narrowing, with a total of only 10 voting points separating No. 1 Blinn (137 points with four first-place votes) from EMCC. AWC compiled 133 total voting points with two first-place votes this week. Butler Community College (Kansas) and Snow College (Utah) round out the nation’s top five teams in the current NJCAA poll at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
Aiming to record the first-ever undefeated regular season in the school’s football history, this year’s 7-0 East Mississippi squad owns five wins over teams that are either still currently ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 or have been ranked at some point during the season. Most recently, EMCC claimed a 41-17 road victory over previously ranked Pearl River last Saturday in Poplarville. Earlier in the year, the Lions posted wins over reigning state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast (34-30 on Sept. 1 in Scooba) and defending MACJC North Division champion Northwest Mississippi (45-42 on Sept. 15 in Senatobia) when the two foes were ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the country. During that same three-week span at the start of the season, EMCC handed Hinds, currently ranked 12th nationally, its lone defeat of the year to date by a final tally of 20-17, Sept. 8 in Raymond. Two weeks ago (Oct. 8) in Booneville, the Lions also knocked off then-No. 12 Northeast Mississippi with a decisive 63-35 road triumph over the Tigers.
Guided by veteran coach Jay Miller, who is retiring at the conclusion of the current football season, the Trojans of Mississippi Delta are winless in seven tries on the campaign. Miller, a native of Noxubee County, played for the EMCC Lions during the 1969 and 1970 football seasons and later served as an assistant football coach during the 1986 and 1987 seasons at East Mississippi CC.
The Lions have prevailed in the last three EMCC-MDCC gridiron contests dating back to Stephens’ first season in Scooba. Last year in Moorhead, the visiting Lions rallied from a 27-point, first-half deficit to score 42 unanswered points en route to claiming a 42-27 road win over the Trojans. Two years ago during their state championship season, the Lions earned a 28-10 home triumph over Delta. In 2008, EMCC knocked off the Trojans, 35-15, in Moorhead.
Saturday’s EMCC homecoming contest against Mississippi Delta will be broadcast live on WLSM-FM Radio, 107.1 out of Louisville, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action along with John Lyle Briggs handling the sideline reporting duties. 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.
Last Updated ( Friday, 21 October 2011 )