|13th-ranked EMCC Lions look to bounce back Thursday at No. 18 Northwest|
Game time at Bobby Franklin Field in Senatobia is set for 6:30 p.m.
SCOOBA – The 13th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi travel to No. 18 Northwest Mississippi Thursday looking to bounce back from last week’s home loss to reigning state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Pitting the top two teams in the current MACJC North Division standings, Thursday’s EMCC-Northwest contest will feature two of the nation’s top passing attacks directed by two of the most highly touted quarterbacks among the NJCAA ranks. With preseason All-American Randall Mackey under center for the Lions, East Mississippi boasts the nation’s No. 1 offensive unit with an average of 517 yards of total offense per contest. Led by sophomore signal-caller Casey Weston, the Rangers top the NJCAA team statistical rankings by averaging 356.8 passing yards per outing. EMCC presently rates fourth nationally with an average of 304.5 passing yards a game.
Falling 11 spots from the No. 2 position to land 13th in this week’s NJCAA/JCFootball.com poll, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 3-1 Lions had their 10-game, regular-season winning streak snapped with last Thursday’s 43-26 home setback to the Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast. EMCC started the season with non-divisional victories over Copiah-Lincoln (27-13) and Jones County (28-17), along with a 41-14 home triumph over Holmes two weeks ago to successfully begin defense of its MACJC North Division championship.
Guided by head coach Ricky Woods, the 18th-ranked Rangers of Northwest Mississippi are also 3-1 overall and 1-0 in divisional play on the year. Most recently, Northwest claimed a 35-0 shutout win at Itawamba last week to rebound from the team’s 38-35 home loss to undefeated Pearl River. The Rangers kicked off the campaign with an impressive 30-25 victory at Gulf Coast, followed by a 23-0 home whitewash of Hinds. For the season, Northwest enters Thursday’s EMCC contest having allowed a state-best collective total of only 63 points, including the two shutout wins, through the first four games.
Along with EMCC and Northwest showcasing two of the country’s leading signal-callers in Mackey and Weston, both standout quarterbacks also have the luxury of spreading the wealth offensively. With sophomore Stephon Johnson of Gulfport leading the way with a team-high 18 receptions for 212 yards, the Lions feature eight receivers with six or more catches on the season, including five with double-digit grabs. Headed by Michael Lindsey, averaging nearly 26 yards per catch on 17 receptions including four touchdowns, the Rangers tout nine different receivers with at least five catches for the year.
A year ago in Scooba, the home-standing Lions posted a 27-19 victory over visiting Northwest Mississippi amidst their seven-game winning streak that resulted in an MACJC North Division title and the school’s first state playoff appearance since 1984.
Thursday’s EMCC-Northwest contest will be broadcast by WFCA-FM radio (107.9) with Jason Crowder set to describe the play-by-play action and Eddie Hammond slated to provide the color analysis. The game can be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfca108.com.
East Mississippi will stay on the road to take on Coahoma next Thursday (Oct. 1) in Clarksdale, before playing host to Northeast Mississippi on Saturday, Oct. 10, as part of the school’s homecoming festivities. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 September 2009 )|
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