| SCOOBA – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will step out of division play for the final time this regular season by heading to Poplarville to take on the Wildcats of Pearl River CC Saturday afternoon. Amidst homecoming activities on the PRCC campus, Saturday’s kickoff at Dobie Holden Stadium is set for 3 p.m.
Fourth-year head football coach Buddy Stephens will lead his third-ranked EMCC Lions to Poplarville to take on the Wildcats of Pearl River CC this Saturday afternoon. Stephens, now 30-8 overall as EMCC’s head coach, previously coached and played at PRCC.
Saturday’s non-divisional clash looks to feature a head-to-head matchup of two of the nation’s top junior college quarterbacks, as well as marking a homecoming of sorts for EMCC head football coach Buddy Stephens.
EMCC freshman quarterback Bo Wallace, a two-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week this season, and PRCC sophomore signal-caller Melvin German presently rank first and second, respectively, among the national statistical leaders in both passing offense and total offense. Wallace, redshirted a year ago at Arkansas State University, leads all NJCAA quarterbacks with 2,356 passing yards and 24 touchdowns thrown while completing 70 percent (169-of-243) of his passes this season. Wallace is averaging an NJCAA-best 392.7 passing yards and 404.8 yards of total offense an outing on the year, while German follows second nationally with per-game averages of 347.2 yards through the air and 370.8 yards of total offense.
Stephens, now 30-8 overall in his fourth year as head coach of the EMCC Lions, will be making his first visit to Poplarville with his East Mississippi football squad since leaving Pearl River CC in 2007 following his seven-year stint (2001-07) as the Wildcats’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Stephens and current EMCC associate head coach/defensive coordinator William Jones previously served as assistant coaches on Tim Hatten’s Pearl River staff that directed the Wildcats to four consecutive MACJC state football championships and four straight top five national finishes (2003-06), including an NJCAA national title in 2004.
In addition, Stephens was a two-year letterman (1987-88) as an offensive lineman at Pearl River CC under former head coach Mike Nelson. Prior to moving onto Delta State University, Stephens collected MACJC All-State South Division honors as a sophomore and earned a roster spot in the 1988 MACJC All-Star Classic.
Stephens’ current EMCC contingent features a balanced, high-scoring offensive attack behind a veteran offensive line. While Wallace continues to put up impressive numbers week after week, the NJCAA All-American candidate has seven different receivers with 12 or more catches on the year. Kemper County’s Lacoltan Bester ranks 13th nationally with a team-leading 33 receptions to go along with his club-best 513 receiving yards and seven touchdown grabs. Fellow sophomores Hamp Glover and JJ Harbin, former Meridian High School teammates, follow with 28 and 24 catches, respectively.
The Lions’ solid ground game, anchored by a sophomore-laden offensive line, is paced by freshman running back Rodriguez Moore. The Bastrop, La., native stands 11th nationally with an average of 93.5 rushing yards an outing.
As a team, the Lions are averaging 44.3 points per game for the season, including an average of 53 points an outing over their last four contests. The team’s high-powered offense has EMCC off to the program’s first 6-0 start since Hall of Fame head coach Bob “Bull” Sullivan’s 1964 Lions contingent opened with eight straight wins on the way to a 9-2 campaign.
On the other side of the ball, EMCC’s stellar defensive unit most recently allowed only 47 rushing yards and picked off three passes in last Saturday’s 28-point victory at Northeast Mississippi. On special teams, sophomore placekicker Taylor Walker, of Northwest Rankin High School, ranks fifth nationally among kickers with an MACJC-leading 50 points, including a perfect 35-of-35 on point-after-touchdown attempts.
The Lions and Wildcats have split a pair of gridiron meetings since Stephens was hired at EMCC in 2007. A year ago during East Mississippi’s homecoming, the Lions claimed a 42-36 victory over Pearl River. In 2008, the visiting Wildcats won by a similar score of 42-35 in the semifinals of the MACJC state football playoffs held in Scooba. Saturday will mark the Lions’ first football action in Poplarville since the 2004 season when the Wildcats posted a 40-0 shutout victory over visiting EMCC.
The Wildcats of Pearl River are 4-2 overall on the year and 3-1 in MACJC South Division play after downing Copiah-Lincoln, 26-5, last week in Poplarville. Also with wins over East Central, Southwest Mississippi and Itawamba this year, PRCC’s losses have been on the road against rival Mississippi Gulf Coast, 17-10 two weeks ago in Perkinston, and Northwest Mississippi, 56-55 in overtime to open the season in Senatobia.
The audio-streamed broadcast of Saturday’s EMCC-PRCC contest from Poplarville is slated to be made available through WFCA-FM’s website facilities at www.wfcafm108.com with Glen Beard and Kevin Simmons set to handle the play-by-play duties and John Lyle Briggs serving as the Lions’ sideline reporter. The game can also be heard online by logging onto EMCC’s athletics website at http://athletics.eastms.edu.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – For the second time this football season, freshman quarterback Bo Wallace of the third-ranked East Mississippi Community College Lions has been named the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week by the NJCAA’s national office headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Statistically the top-rated quarterback among the NJCAA ranks, EMCC freshman Bo Wallace has been named the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season on the heels of the third-ranked Lions’ 63-35 road triumph over the 12th-ranked Tigers of Northeast Mississippi. (Photo by Stan Beall)
This past Saturday in EMCC’s decisive 63-35 road divisional victory over then-12th ranked Northeast Mississippi, Wallace completed 26-of-33 passes for 549 yards, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, in a little more than one half of play against the Tigers. The former Arkansas State University redshirt eclipsed the 500-yard passing mark in the first half versus Northeast to propel the visiting Lions to a commanding 42-7 lead early in the second quarter and 49-14 by the intermission. In throwing seven touchdown passes for the second straight week, Wallace averaged 21.1 yards per completion at Northeast.
For the season, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Wallace leads all NJCAA quarterbacks with 2,356 passing yards and 24 touchdowns through the year’s first six games. The Pulaski, Tenn., native has completed 70 percent (169-of-243) of his passes on the year, with only six interceptions. Having also twice claimed MACJC Star of the Week recognition from The Clarion-Ledger/jucoweekly.org, Wallace also tops the NJCAA’s individual statistical leaders by averaging 392.7 passing yards and 404.8 yards of total offense per contest.
Wallace becomes the first player this season to earn repeat NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week honors, having previously garnered the weekly national award following the Lions’ season-opening, 34-30 home triumph over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast. East Mississippi CC has also become the first football program this year to collect three NJCAA Player of the Week honors. During Week 3 following the Lions’ 45-42 road win over then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi, EMCC sophomore wide receiver/kick returner Rodney Davis (Millbrook, Ala.) received NJCAA Special Teams Player of the Week laurels.
This week (Oct. 6-9) also becomes the second time this season that two players from Mississippi-based community colleges have been tabbed with NJCAA Player of the Week mentions during the same week, as Northwest Mississippi kicker/punter Chase Carpenter has earned Week 6 Special Teams POTW honors from the national office. All total, players from the 14-team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) have been recognized seven times through the first six weeks of the current campaign.
Head coach Buddy Stephens’ 6-0 EMCC Lions, 4-0 and atop the MACJC’s North Division standings, step out of divisional play for the final time this regular season by traveling to Poplarville to meet the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College Saturday afternoon. Amidst homecoming festivities around the Pearl River campus, Saturday’s EMCC-PRCC kickoff at Dobie Holden Stadium is set for 3 p.m.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 October 2011 )
BOONEVILLE – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College established supremacy in the MACJC’s North Division football standings by rolling to a decisive 63-35 road triumph over No. 12 Northeast Mississippi Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium on the Booneville campus.
In a battle of unbeatens with both teams entering the contest 5-0 overall and 3-0 in division play, the EMCC Lions dominated early and often in the opening half by taking a commanding 42-7 lead early in the second quarter on the way to an insurmountable 49-14 halftime advantage. The visitors’ lead ballooned to 63-14 by the 11:27 mark of the third quarter, before Northeast managed to put up three late-game scores against EMCC’s reserve defenders.
Averaging 53 points an outing over their last four games, the Lions rang up 63 points in less than three quarters on a vaunted Northeast Mississippi defense that had previously surrendered only 67 total points – tops in the MACJC - through the first five games of the year.
After EMCC’s starting defensive unit set the tone of the game by backing up the home-standing Tigers 22 yards with three straight negative-yardage plays in their opening possession, the Lions needed just two plays to get on the scoreboard three minutes into the contest. Following a run play, freshman quarterback Bo Wallace found sophomore wide receiver Hamp Glover, of Meridian, over the middle for a 46-yard touchdown.
While the East Mississippi defense prevented the Tigers from crossing midfield in each of their first five possessions, the Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first six offensive drives to stun Northeast’s homecoming crowd to the tune of 42-7 just one minute into the second quarter of play.
First-quarter touchdown passes from Wallace to sophomores JJ Harbin (23 yards), Lacoltan Bester (55 yards) and Termarcus Conner (27 yards) methodically built the lead to 28-0, before the Northeast fans momentarily had something to cheer about when Deion Belue returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score at the end of the opening period.
The Tigers tried to take advantage of the moment by attempting a subsequent onsides kick. Following the unsuccessful attempt to catch the visitors by surprise, it took EMCC just four plays to move the necessary 44 yards to pay dirt when freshman Antoinne Adkins scored on a 6-yard keeper at the 14:30 mark.
Less than a minute later following Shaquille Fluker’s interception of a J.R. Jennings pass, Adkins was on the receiving end of a 74-yard scoring strike from Wallace to make it 42-7 with 13:54 still remaining in the half. Both teams scored again in the second quarter to make the margin 49-14 by the intermission.
Hitting five different receivers with touchdown passes through the first two quarters, EMCC’s Wallace finished the first half throwing for an eye-popping 506 yards and six touchdowns on 24-of-31 passing. The former Arkansas State redshirt opened the second half hitting his first three passes for 27 more yards, capped by a 6-yard scoring toss to Glover, before giving way to Conner, EMCC’s backup signal-caller, the rest of the game.
Statistically on the day, the Lions had four different receivers eclipse the century mark in yardage through the air. Harbin, of Meridian, led the way with seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Bester, a Kemper County product, with 101 yards and a pair of scores on five receptions. Glover and Adkins each added four grabs for 105 and 100 receiving yards, respectively.
After their first three games of the year were decided by a collective total of only 10 points, including narrow wins over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast (34-30) and then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi (45-42), the Lions have now outscored their last three opponents by a composite score of 167-48. In the team’s recent home routs of Itawamba (48-7) and Coahoma (56-6), EMCC held sizeable halftime leads of 38-0 and 35-0, respectively.
Off to the program’s first 6-0 start since 1964, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions are now 30-8 overall and 20-2 in division play dating back to the 2008 season. East Mississippi remains unbeaten (11-0) in MACJC North Division road action over the past four years.
The EMCC Lions step out of division play for the final time this regular season by heading to Poplarville to meet the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College next Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15). EMCC then returns to the Scooba campus to welcome Mississippi Delta on Saturday, Oct. 22, as part of the Lions’ homecoming weekend.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – In a Saturday showdown between the lone remaining undefeated teams in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, the third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College venture to Booneville to take on 12th-ranked Northeast Mississippi Community College. Saturday’s homecoming contest on the Northeast campus is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Tiger Stadium.
The third-ranked EMCC Lions head to Booneville to meet the 12th-ranked Tigers of Northeast Mississippi Saturday afternoon (Oct. 8) in a battle of unbeatens. The MACJC North Division showdown is set to kick off at 3 p.m. as part of homecoming festivities on the Northeast campus.
With both teams entering the weekend at 5-0 overall and 3-0 within the division, Saturday’s meeting will play a major role in determining the eventual makeup of the MACJC’s North Division standings. Both EMCC and Northeast have already won at defending division champion Northwest Mississippi this season, while the remaining four division foes have combined for only two division wins between them entering Thursday’s action.
As an added incentive to this year’s MACJC North Division race, the regular-season champion on the north side will earn the right to host at least an opening-round game in next month’s MACJC state football playoffs. With the top two teams from each division advancing to postseason play, the state semifinals will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5, followed by the MACJC state championship game a week later on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The video stream of Saturday’s marquee MACJC matchup between the EMCC Lions and Northeast Tigers will be available at www.njcaatv.ihigh.com. The contest will also be broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio – 107.9 out of French Camp – with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action and John Lyle Briggs slated to handle the Lions’ sideline reporting duties. The live broadcast can also be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com.
Saturday’s EMCC-Northeast gridiron battle will pit one of the nation’s most potent offensive attacks against the most stubborn scoring defense in the 14-team MACJC this season. Triggered by standout freshman quarterback Bo Wallace, ranked second nationally in both passing and total offense, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions are averaging 40.6 points per game on the year after outscoring their most recent opposition by a combined margin of 104-13 (56-6 over Coahoma and 48-7 over Itawamba). In contrast, the Northeast Tigers have surrendered a state-best total of only 67 points in their five victories to date on the year.
Offensively, East Mississippi ranks second nationally in team total offense (522.4 yards per game) as well as team passing offense (369.6 yds/gm). On the flip side, the Northeast defensive unit presently stands third in the MACJC in team total defense in allowing an average of 256.2 yards an outing. After picking off six Northwest passes last week, the Tiger defenders also share the state lead (with Copiah-Lincoln) with 13 pass interceptions this season.
East Mississippi’s road-heavy October slate continues a week from Saturday (Oct. 15), as the Lions travel to Poplarville to meet the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College in a 3 p.m. non-divisional contest. Homecoming festivities on the Scooba campus will bring the Lions back to the friendly confines of Sullivan-Windham Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff against Mississippi Delta on Saturday, Oct. 22. EMCC will wrap up the regular season at Holmes CC on Thursday, Oct. 27.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 October 2011 )
| SCOOBA – Inching up another spot to No. 3 nationally in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football poll, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College begin their final month of the regular season with a Saturday showdown against 12th-ranked Northeast Mississippi in Booneville. The 3 p.m. homecoming contest at NEMCC’s Tiger Stadium will feature a battle of unbeatens, with the winner taking a huge step toward securing this year’s MACJC North Division championship.
The unbeaten Lions of East Mississippi Community College will take their No. 3 national ranking in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football poll to Booneville for Saturday’s MACJC North Division showdown against 12th-ranked Northeast Mississippi CC. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Tiger Stadium on the Northeast campus.
The video stream of Saturday’s marquee MACJC matchup will be available at www.njcaatv.ihigh.com. The contest will also be broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio – 107.9 out of French Camp – with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action and John Lyle Briggs slated to handle the Lions’ sideline reporting duties. The live broadcast can also be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com.
Because of the significance of Saturday’s EMCC-Northeast gridiron battle, the contest will also be featured as the jucoweekly.org Game of the Week. A game recap highlight video, including post-game interviews with coaches and players from both teams, will be posted on the www.jucoweekly.org website on Monday (Oct. 10).
Having outscored their last two opponents, 104-13, with recent home wins over Coahoma (56-6) and Itawamba (48-7), head coach Buddy Stephens’ 5-0 EMCC Lions have moved up one notch to third in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 poll. Blinn College (TX), which knocked off former-No. 1 Navarro College (TX) this past Saturday, is the NJCAA’s new top-ranked team in the country, followed by Arizona Western College. Snow College (UT) and Butler CC (KS) round out the nation’s Top 5. Other Mississippi schools also ranked this week are Mississippi Gulf Coast (#10), Hinds (#17) and Northwest Mississippi (#18).
This week’s No. 3 rating marks East Mississippi’s highest poll position since being ranked second nationally during the early portion of the 2009 campaign. Two years ago, the Lions avenged an early-season home setback to Mississippi Gulf Coast by claiming their first-ever state football championship with a memorable 75-71 shootout victory over the MGCCC Bulldogs in the 2009 MACJC title game played in Scooba.
Now 29-8 overall and 19-2 in division play under Stephens’ guidance dating back to 2008, the Lions will be seeking to avenge one of those setbacks Saturday afternoon in Booneville. A year ago in Scooba, the visiting Tigers broke loose for 330 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground as a team, including 267 yards and four scores by running back Jaquise Cook, to earn a 49-42 road win over East Mississippi.
As EMCC prepares for Northeast Mississippi on the road this Saturday, the Lions will be looking to maintain their winning ways in revenge-factor games during the Stephens era. Dating back to the 2009 season, the EMCC Lions have successfully prevailed in their six rematch encounters to date against teams to which they had fallen in their prior head-to-head meetings. Most recently, EMCC opened the current campaign by turning the tables on last year’s 0-3 start by knocking off Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hinds and Northwest Mississippi – all ranked in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 - in successive rematch contests earlier this season.
Undefeated in seven MACJC North Division road outings dating back to 2008, East Mississippi’s most recent visit to Booneville resulted in a 49-0 shutout victory over the Tigers three years ago (Oct. 9, 2008). Prior to last year’s home loss to Northeast Mississippi, the Lions had prevailed in four straight series meetings (2006-09) with NEMCC.
Averaging 40.6 points per outing on the year and ranked second nationally with a per-game average of 522.4 yards of total offense, the EMCC Lions have trailed their opposition by a composite total of only two minutes and 11 seconds (2:11) of game clock time during the 2011 season. While having never trailed in wins over Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hinds, Itawamba and Coahoma, EMCC briefly trailed then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi twice in the second and third quarters before edging the Rangers, 45-42, three weeks ago in Senatobia.
Defensively, East Mississippi’s recent one-sided home triumphs over Coahoma (56-6) and Itawamba (48-7), which featured respective halftime leads of 35-0 and 38-0, mark the first time since 2006 that the Lions have limited back-to-back opponents to single digits on the scoreboard.
Off to their best start since 1974, the EMCC Lions are bidding to move to 6-0 on the year for the first time since legendary Hall of Fame football coach Bob “Bull” Sullivan directed his 1964 East Mississippi squad to a program-best 8-0 start on the way to posting a 9-2 record and state runner-up finish.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 October 2011 )