FULTON – Tyler Jackson’s 43-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining lifted Itawamba Community College to a 24-23 upset victory over third-ranked East Mississippi Community College Saturday evening at Eaton Field. The road setback on ICC’s Homecoming snapped EMCC’s 20-game winning streak that had dated back to last year’s NJCAA national championship season.
The game-winning field goal by ICC’s freshman kicker capped a fourth quarter that saw four lead changes. Tied at 14-14 entering the final period, the visiting Lions took their first lead of the contest on fellow freshman kicker Morgan Rhodes’ 31-yard field goal with 8:34 remaining in the contest.
On the Indians’ subsequent possession, a third-down pass play from quarterback Griff Loftis to receiver Sanford Seay was aided by a pair of dead ball penalties by EMCC. The next play from scrimmage resulted in Tobias Lofton exploding through the left side of the line for a 21-yard touchdown that put Itawamba back on top 21-17 with 6:49 left in the game.
To their credit, the Lions fought back to put together an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive mainly on the ground. With EMCC quarterback Quez Johnson and sophomore running back Rodriguez Moore combining for 47 rushing yards during the drive, Johnson capped things off by pounding the ball in from a yard out on a second-effort play. However, the ensuing successful point-after-touchdown by Rhodes came off the scoreboard after the Lions were whistled for a holding penalty. The infraction would come back to haunt the Lions, as the second attempt missed left to keep the score at 23-21 precariously in favor of the visitors.
The Indians’ eventual game-winning drive got off to a slow start after they fumbled the subsequent kickoff out of bounds and were pushed back to the 11-yard line because of a holding penalty. With 2:27 remaining in regulation, Loftis calmly directed the home team on a 15-play drive that set up the late-game dramatics. ICC’s freshman quarterback from Mooreville was 7-of-12 with 59 yards through the air to enable the Indians to get to the 26-yard line. Following a timeout on a fourth-and-one, Jackson, who had earlier missed on a 27-yard attempt in the opening period, connected on his career-long three-pointer to put Itawamba back on top 24-23.
EMCC did have a last chance remaining when Ole Miss transfer Nick Brassell ran back the final kickoff to ICC’s 43-yard line. Following an incomplete pass and a sack of Johnson by Fred Ward at midfield on the game’s final play, however, Itawamba’s Homecoming celebration ensued to cap the Indians’ 6-3 campaign.
It was the short-handed Indians who took early control of the regular-season finale for both teams despite dressing out only 39 members of their season-opening, 55-man roster. Benefitting from three first-half interceptions thrown by EMCC’s Johnson, ICC turned the game’s opening miscue into seven points on Loftis’ 3-yard touchdown toss to Rashad Pargo at the 11:44 mark of the first quarter. With the visitors failing to generate much consistent offense through the air, Itawamba moved ahead 14-0 late in the second quarter on a 40-yard scoring strike over the middle from Loftis to Ronald Carswell.
The Lions did receive a much-needed energy boost when freshman LeDarious Clark ran back the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to ICC’s 41-yard line. Five plays later, Moore picked up his 10th rushing touchdown of the year on a 5-yard score to cut Itawamba’s lead in half with 3:06 remaining until intermission. The visitors looked to be in business again on the subsequent kickoff when the Indians fumbled the squib kick and turned it over at their own 29-yard line. EMCC’s apparent momentum was short-lived, as Theo Rich nabbed Johnson’s pass near the line of scrimmage on the next play to preserve ICC’s 14-7 halftime lead.
East Mississippi seemingly regained that momentum coming out of the break by holding ICC on its opening possession of the second half and engineering a game-tying drive that efficiently covered 95 yards on 12 plays. Equally dividing the pass along with the run, the four-minute drive was capped by Moore snatching a swing pass from Johnson one-handed on a fourth-and-eight play and bolting 16 yards down the right sideline. The lone score of the third quarter knotted the contest at 14-14, setting up the game’s fourth-quarter dramatics.
Along with halting the Lions’ 20-game overall winning streak, the one-point setback ended EMCC’s 20-game win string in regular-season contests that had spanned back to the 2010 campaign. The loss also marked East Mississippi’s first defeat in 15 MACJC North Division road outings since Buddy Stephens took over the Lions’ head coaching duties in 2008.
Statistically for EMCC in the team’s regular-season finale, Johnson accounted for 377 yards of total offense and two touchdowns against Itawamba. The reigning NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week was 25-of-44 through the air for 238 passing yards and a touchdown along with the trio of first-half interceptions. The former Starkville High School product also registered career-high numbers on the ground for the second straight week by rushing for 139 yards and one score on 32 carries.
The 8-1 EMCC Lions, MACJC North Division regular-season champions for the fourth time in five years under Stephens’ guidance, will now look to regroup from their first loss since a 48-21 postseason setback at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in the 2010 MACJC state semifinals by playing host to South No. 2 seed and 17th-ranked Co-Lin on Saturday in this year’s state semifinals. Kickoff at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field is set for 2 p.m. on the Scooba campus. No. 9 Mississippi Gulf Coast, champions of the MACJC’s South Division, will entertain North No. 2 seed and 11th-ranked Northwest Mississippi in Saturday’s other semifinal-round playoff matchup. The two winners will meet the following Saturday (Nov. 10) for the 2012 MACJC/NJCAA Region 23 Championship at a site to be determined.
| SCOOBA – Looking to close out their second straight unbeaten regular season on the gridiron, the third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College travel to Fulton to meet MACJC North Division foe Itawamba Community College Saturday afternoon. ICC’s homecoming kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. at Eaton Field on the Itawamba campus.
Owners of a 20-game winning streak, head coach Buddy Stephens’ third-ranked EMCC Lions look to close out a second straight unbeaten regular season on the gridiron by taking on the Itawamba Indians Saturday afternoon in Fulton. Kickoff for EMCC’s regular-season finale is set for 4 p.m. at Eaton Field on the ICC campus.
Having already secured the MACJC North Division’s No. 1 seed for the upcoming MACJC State Playoffs with their fourth regular-season division title in five years, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 8-0 EMCC Lions have won 20 consecutive games dating back to last year’s 12-0 NJCAA national championship season. EMCC also owns a current 20-game win string in regular-season play spanning back to the 2010 campaign.
Despite claiming a key 56-49 home victory over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi a week ago, East Mississippi remained at the No. 3 position in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 national poll behind top-ranked Iowa Western and No. 2 Butler. Now with one-third of the nine first-place votes and 182.5 voting points to their credit, the Lions currently trail Butler (189 pts) and IWCC (203 pts) by 6.5 and 20.5 voting points, respectively.
Previously ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA’s preseason poll and for the first two weeks of the regular season, the EMCC Lions have remained atop the JCGridiron.com and JCFootball.com national rankings for the better part of the 2012 season. The JCGridiron.com and JCFootball.com ratings include all NJCAA member schools along with the talent-laden California community college programs.
A more-balanced team offensively than last year’s unbeaten Lions squad, the 2012 EMCC club is averaging 541.9 yards of total offense per contest on the year to rank fifth nationally. With the current NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week Quez Johnson at the controls, the Lions are passing for an even 300 yards per game to rank sixth in the NJCAA. Completing 57 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns to stand fourth nationally, Johnson is also tied for the team lead with nine rushing scores on the year.
Sophomore transfer Corey Smith, of Akron, Ohio by way of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College, continues to lead EMCC’s pass-catching corps with 43 receptions for 649 yards and eight touchdowns. Sophomore running back Rodriguez Moore has rushed for a team-high 779 yards (10th in the NJCAA) and nine scores for the season. The Bastrop, La., native is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and 97.4 yards per game for the Lions.
Defensively, the Lions bent a little last week in surrendering 49 points and 586 yards of total offense in their MACJC North Division title-clinching victory over Northwest Mississippi. Prior to last week, EMCC had only allowed 45 total points in the previous seven contests combined, including three shutout victories (Northeast, Holmes and Mississippi Delta) in the prior four-game span. Including a season-high five interceptions on defense a week ago against NWCC, the Lions are tied for fourth among the NJCAA team ranks with 19 picks for the season. With at least one interception in all eight games this year, 12 of EMCC’s 19 picks have come over the last three outings.
Guided by third-year head coach Jon Williams, the Itawamba Indians are 5-3 overall and 3-2 within the MACJC North Division after claiming back-to-back division wins over Northeast Mississippi (36-15) last week and Coahoma (31-28) two weeks ago. ICC’s three setbacks this season have come against Holmes, Northwest Mississippi and Copiah-Lincoln, which included narrow losses to Holmes (14-12) in Week 4 and Co-Lin (17-14) two weeks later.
Along with having remained unbeaten in MACJC North Division road action (14-0) since Stephens’ arrival on the Scooba scene in 2008, the EMCC Lions will also be looking to extend their current five-game series win streak against Itawamba that dates back to a 31-28 overtime win in Fulton during the 2007 campaign. Most recently, EMCC claimed a 48-7 home victory over the Indians last season in Scooba and previously posted a 37-10 road triumph at ICC two years ago.
Saturday’s regular-season finale in Fulton will be broadcast live online by WFCA-FM radio (www.wfcafm108.com), out of French Camp, with Glen Beard and John Lyle Briggs set to describe the play-by-play action. WFCA’s broadcast of Saturday’s EMCC-ICC contest is also slated to be carried live in the Meridian market on SuperTalk Mississippi 103.3 FM as well as on WLSM-FM (107.1) in Louisville. Post-game highlights and interviews will also be available Friday via EMCC’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/emccathletics, which can also be accessed through EMCC’s school website, www.eastms.edu, and Facebook pages.
Set to make their fifth consecutive appearance in the MACJC State Playoffs under Stephens’ leadership, the EMCC Lions clinched the No.1 seed in the MACJC’s North Division with last week’s clutch win over Northwest and will now play host to the South’s No. 2 seed on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Scooba. The MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 Championship Game will pair the winners of the two Nov. 3 semifinal-round playoff games on Saturday, Nov. 10 at a site to be determined.
Last Updated ( Friday, 26 October 2012 )
| SCOOBA – Riding streaks of three consecutive NJCAA Tournament appearances and three straight MACJC North Division titles, head coach Mark White’s East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team is ranked eighth nationally in the NJCAA Top 25 poll released Thursday.
Coach Mark White’s three-time reigning NJCAA Region 23 Champion EMCC Lions will tip off the upcoming 2012-13 basketball season next week with a No. 8 national ranking in the NJCAA Top 25 poll.
Entering his sixth season at the EMCC men’s basketball helm, White has guided the Lions to three-year composite records of 75-18 (.806) overall and 33-3 (.917) in division play spanning back to the 2009-10 hoops season. A year ago, East Mississippi finished 23-6 overall and 11-1 within the division after dropping single-digit decisions in the NJCAA Tournament to eventual national champion South Plains College (TX) and eventual consolation bracket winner Indian Hills CC-Ottumwa. EMCC advanced to the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan., for the third straight year last March after winning the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament in Clinton for the third consecutive season.
Having garnered Top 15 NJCAA rankings in the final men’s basketball poll each of the last three years, this season marks the second straight year that the East Mississippi men have been ranked in the preseason NJCAA Top 10. A season ago, the EMCC Lions tipped off the 2011-12 campaign ranked seventh nationally in the preseason poll.
With reigning NJCAA national champion South Plains College holding down the No. 1 preseason spot in the 2012-13 NJCAA Top 25, the remaining Top 5 preseason teams include Northwest Florida State College at No. 2, third-ranked Howard College, Chipola College at No. 4 and Indian Hills-Ottumwa at the fifth spot. The rest of the NJCAA Preseason Top 10 features Vincennes at No. 6, followed by the College of Southern Idaho and EMCC at seventh and eighth, respectively, No. 9 Seward County and Navarro College at No. 10. At No. 22 nationally, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is the only other MACJC member school listed in the NJCAA preseason men’s basketball poll.
The EMCC Lions, along with head coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions squad, will give sneak peeks at their 2012-13 teams during Monday’s “Late Night with the Lions” event on the Scooba campus. Set for a 9 p.m. start at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum, the hoops preview event will consist of team intros, a dunk contest, three-point shootouts and intra-squad scrimmages by both EMCC teams.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will officially tip off the 2012-13 regular season by playing host to Georgia Highlands College on Thursday (Nov. 1) on the Scooba campus. EMCC will then entertain Meridian Community College a week later on Thursday, Nov. 8. Both upcoming home basketball doubleheaders are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. with women’s action followed by 7:30 p.m. men’s contests.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 October 2012 )
| SCOOBA – Already honored on the state level this week, freshman quarterback Quez Johnson of the third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College has now been recognized nationally as the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week for his dual-threat exploits in last Thursday’s MACJC North Division title-clinching win over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi. The national weekly honors were announced Wednesday by the NJCAA office headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.
EMCC freshman quarterback Quez Johnson has added NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week honors to his list of accomplishments for his efforts in last week’s 56-49 home victory over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi. Earlier in the week, the former Starkville High School product earned MACJC/jucoweekly.org accolades for his dual-threat exploits against the Rangers. (Photo by Stan Beall, www.jucoweekly.org)
Also named this week’s MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week, Johnson posted career-best totals in EMCC’s recent 56-49 home win over the Rangers by accounting for 536 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns. The former Starkville High School standout threw for a career-high 422 yards and four touchdowns on 33-of-46 passing to secure the Lions’ fourth MACJC North Division regular-season football title in five years. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound signal caller also ran for a career-most 114 rushing yards on 21 attempts with three more scores on the ground.
This marks the second time this season that an East Mississippi football player has received national recognition. Freshman running back/kick returner LeDarious Clark, of Southeast Lauderdale High School, previously earned NJCAA Special Teams Player of the Week accolades following EMCC’s 35-15, season-opening home triumph over Pearl River Community College.
On the year, Johnson has completed 57 percent of his passes (162-of-282) for 2,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also ranks third on the EMCC squad with 299 rushing yards for the season and is tied for the team lead with sophomore running back Rodriguez Moore with nine rushing touchdowns.
Also receiving NJCAA individual honors this week were kick returner Fred Franklin of Holmes Community College for special teams and Louisburg College (N.C.) defensive back Jeffery Richardson.
Owners of a current 20-game winning streak dating back to last year’s NJCAA national championship season, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 8-0 EMCC Lions will close out the regular season Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) in Fulton against the Indians of Itawamba Community College. The Lions have prevailed in the last five EMCC-ICC gridiron battles, including last season’s 48-7 victory in Scooba and a 37-10 road win over the Indians two years ago in Fulton.
Set for their fifth consecutive appearance in the MACJC State Playoffs, the EMCC Lions clinched the No.1 seed in the MACJC’s North Division with last week’s key win over Northwest and will now play host to the South’s No. 2 seed on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Scooba. The MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 Championship Game will pair the winners of the two Nov. 3 semifinal-round playoff games on Saturday, Nov. 10 at a site to be determined.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 October 2012 )
| SCOOBA – On the heels of posting career-best numbers in third-ranked East Mississippi Community College’s 56-49 home win over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi last Thursday, Lion freshman quarterback Quez Johnson has been tabbed the MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
EMCC quarterback Quez Johnson has earned MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season after posting career-best passing and rushing totals during last Thursday’s MACJC North Division title-clinching win over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi. (Photo by Stan Beall, www.jucoweekly.org)
Johnson, a former standout at Starkville High School, accounted for 536 yards of total offense and had a hand in seven of the Lions’ eight touchdowns scored against the Northwest Rangers. Johnson threw for a career-high 422 yards and four touchdowns on 33-of-46 passing to secure EMCC’s fourth MACJC North Division regular-season football title in five years. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound signal caller also rushed for a career-most 114 yards on 21 carries with three more scores via the ground.
This marks the second time this season that Johnson has claimed MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week laurels, having previously earned the honor following EMCC’s 59-6 road triumph over Southwest Mississippi during the third week of the season. Johnson joins fellow two-time EMCC honoree LeDarious Clark, who was previously tabbed the MACJC’s Special Teams Player of the Week following Lion victories over Pearl River and Coahoma.
For the season, Johnson has completed 162-of-282 passes (57%) for 2,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also ranks third on the EMCC squad with 299 rushing yards on the year and is tied for the team lead with sophomore running back Rodriguez Moore with nine rushing touchdowns.
Also earning MACJC/jucoweekly.org Player of the Week honors for last week’s efforts were Itawamba defensive back Brandon Smith and Holmes kick returner Fred Franklin on special teams.
Owners of a current 20-game winning streak dating back to last year’s NJCAA national championship season, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 8-0 EMCC Lions will close out the regular season Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) in Fulton against the Indians of Itawamba Community College. The Lions enter their regular-season finale with ICC having prevailed in all 14 previous MACJC North Division road contests under Stephens’ guidance.
Set for their fifth consecutive appearance in the MACJC State Playoffs, the EMCC Lions have clinched the top seed in the MACJC’s North Division and will play host to the South’s No. 2 seed on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Scooba. The 2012 MACJC State Championship Game will then pit the winners of the two Nov. 3 semifinal-round playoff games the following Saturday (Nov. 10).
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 October 2012 )