|East Mississippi's Stephens and Mackey reel in NJCAA Region 23 football honors|
SCOOBA, Miss. – Rewarded for directing the East Mississippi Lions to their best football season in modern school history, head coach Buddy Stephens and freshman quarterback Randall Mackey have been named 2008 NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player, respectively.
In his first season at the EMCC helm following a seven-year stint as an assistant coach at Pearl River, Stephens guided the 8-2 Lions to their first eight-win season on the field since 1974 en route to participating in the MACJC football playoffs for the first time since 1984. Having gone undefeated (6-0) in the North Division for the first time in the school’s football history, East Mississippi claimed the school’s first outright North Division football championship since the state of Mississippi officially went to divisional play beginning in 1970.
In addition, the Lions’ seven-game winning streak propelled Stephens’ squad to a No. 8 national ranking by the NJCAA heading into the MACJC playoffs. The No. 8 ranking marked the school’s highest regular season-ending national ranking since coach Bob (Bull) Sullivan’s 10-1-1 EMJC club finished the 1963 campaign ranked seventh in the J.C. Grid-Wire national rankings.
A first-year signal-caller from Bastrop (La.) High School, Mackey leads the National Junior College Athletic Association in passing yards (281.8) and total offense yards (330.4) per game. The Port Sulphur, La., native threw for 2,818 yards and 24 touchdowns on 193-of-320 (60%) passing for the year, along with rushing for 486 yards and four scores on 80 carries in 10 contests. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound all-America candidate threw for 300 or more yards three times in 2008, including a 441-yard outing on 36-of-58 passing during EMCC’s 27-23 comeback road victory over defending co-national champion and then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sept. 18. Mackey threw for a touchdown in all 10 games this season, including six outings with at least three scoring tosses.
One of Mackey’s primary targets in 2008, sophomore Leon Berry was a repeat selection to the NJCAA All-Region 23 Team after also being chosen as a freshman a year ago. The Griffin, Ga., native had 39 catches for a team-leading 661 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Leading the way for the nation’s top-rated passing attack and total offense unit, freshman offensive guard Quartney Cox of West Point was also named to the 14-man NJCAA All-Region 23 Team, which included a kicker, punter and kick return specialist.
Defensively, EMCC sophomore free safety Jamar Hornsby was one of four defensive backs across the state to earn NJCAA All-Region 23 accolades. The Jacksonville, Fla., native was the Lions’ No. 2 tackler on the year with 111 total tackles (64 solos and 47 assists) and was tied for third on the club with two interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound standout was also credited with eight pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles on the year.
All total, 13th-ranked East Mississippi tied Coahoma with a state-most three offensive selections to the all-region team, in addition to matching Pearl River, Mississippi Gulf Coast and Copiah-Lincoln with a state-best four overall all-region picks.
Dominating the North Division with a 6-0 mark in divisional play, the EMCC Lions placed twice as many players on the 2008 MACJC All-State First Team than any other North Division school. In addition to North Division Most Valuable Players Mackey (offensive back) and Hornsby (defensive back), EMCC’s Berry was chosen as a first-team all-state performer both as a wide receiver and kick returner. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Berry ranked among the MACJC leaders in kickoff returns and punt returns at 25.5 and 12.9 yards per return, respectively. He also ran back one kickoff (81 yards) and a punt (65 yards) for touchdowns this season.
Along with Berry, Mike Outlaw of Starkville and Montrez Mosley of Meridian gave EMCC three of the four first-team wide receiver spots on the MACJC All-State Team for the North Division. The other was Mississippi Delta’s Cordario Calvin. Outlaw (46 receptions for 624 yards) and Mosley (43 catches for 625 yards) ranked 12th and 15th, respectively, among the nation’s leading receivers. Cox rounded out EMCC’s division-best five first-team all-state selections on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively along with Hornsby, fellow Floridian Leslie Stirrups of Tampa earned first-team all-state honors for the Lions. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive lineman totaled 71 tackles (38 solos and 33 assists), including 11 tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks, along with 13 quarterback hurries for the year. EMCC freshman linebacker Alvin Ellis of Columbus also garnered first-team all-state laurels in the North Division after leading the Lions with 113 total tackles (72 solos and 41 assists). The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Columbus High School product was also credited with three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on the season.
All total, East Mississippi’s eight first-team all-state selections (five offensive and three defensive) doubled the four first-teamers claimed by North Division foes Itawamba and Coahoma.
Additionally, the Lions put four players on the 2008 MACJC All-State Second Team for the North Division. Offensively, freshman running back Pat Shed of Starkville ranks 20th nationally with 772 rushing yards, along with earning the state’s scoring title among non-kickers with 72 points, including 11 rushing touchdowns. Sophomore offensive lineman Isaiah Lewis of Meridian also made the second team.
On defense, sophomore strong safety Alex Hill of West Point was honored as second-team all-state after totaling 80 tackles (51 solos and 29 assists), including six behind the line of scrimmage, and ranking second on the team with three interceptions. Freshman defensive end Claude Davis of Lakeland, Fla., was also selected to the second team after leading the Lion defenders with 15 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks among his 87 total tackles (49 solos and 38 assists) on the campaign. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound first-year standout out of Lake Gibson Senior High School was also credited with 20 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles, in addition to his two interceptions in 2008, including an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown against Northeast Mississippi.
EMCC’S 2008 FOOTBALL HONOREES
2008 NJCAA ALL-REGION 23
BUDDY STEPHENS – Region 23 Coach of the Year
RANDALL MACKEY – Region 23 Most Valuable Player
OFFENSE – QB Randall Mackey; WR Leon Berry; OG Quartney Cox
DEFENSE – DB Jamar Hornsby
2008 MACJC ALL-STATE NORTH DIVISION FIRST TEAM
RANDALL MACKEY – MACJC North Division Offensive Most Valuable Player/Back
JAMAR HORNSBY – MACJC North Division Defensive Most Valuable Player/Back
OFFENSE – QB Randall Mackey; WR/KR Leon Berry; WR Mike Outlaw; WR Montrez Mosley; OL Quartney Cox
DEFENSE – DB Jamar Hornsby; DL Leslie Stirrups; LB Alvin Ellis
2008 MACJC ALL-STATE NORTH DIVISION SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE – RB Pat Shed; OL Isaiah Lewis
DEFENSE – DB Alex Hill; DL Claude Davis
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 November 2008 )|
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