|No. 10 EMCC maintains North Division lead with 49-20 victory at Coahoma|
CLARKSDALE – The 10th-ranked East Mississippi Lions used three unanswered fourth-quarter touchdowns to break open a one-score contest en route to cruising to a 49-20 divisional road triumph over Coahoma Thursday evening at James E. Miller Stadium.
Entering the game ranked first nationally in total offense as a team, EMCC rang up 49 points for the second straight week after hitting the same mark a week ago in the team’s key seven-point victory at nationally ranked Northwest Mississippi. Having also hit the 40-point figure in their 41-14 home win over Holmes last month, the Lions have scored at least 26 points in each contest this season.
After fumbling during their opening offensive possession, the Lions benefitted from a bad snap during a punt attempt following a 15-play Coahoma drive. EMCC quickly took advantage of the miscue, as All-America quarterback Randall Mackey connected with Bill Franks of State Line on a 30-yard scoring strike on the third play of the ensuing possession. Redshirt freshman kicker Brett Spencer of Amory began a perfect 7-of-7 night on point-after-touchdown attempts to put the visitors on top by a 7-0 count with 4:25 remaining in the opening quarter.
Following empty possessions that resulted in a missed 31-yard field-goal attempt by Coahoma’s Reed Gallagher and a failed fourth-and-one attempt on a Mackey keeper at midfield, the home-standing Tigers knotted the score at 7-7 on a 16-yard scoring pass from Garrick Jones to Hollis Moore II with 9:24 left in the first half.
The two teams again traded touchdowns three minutes apart late in the second quarter. After Mackey accounted for the first 39 yards of the go-ahead drive, the Louisiana native found Derrick Steele of Utica in the right corner of the end zone from 22 yards out at the 6:01 mark. Aided by an 18-yard pass play and a 19-yard run from Jones, Coahoma countered with a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Brodis Toles. However, Gallagher’s PAT try was blocked to keep the contest at 14-13 in favor of EMCC with 3:11 left in the half.
East Mississippi wasted little time in answering the Tigers’ score, as Mackey capped a quick five-play, 75-yard drive with a 29-yard aerial to Maben’s Mitchell McCurry in the left corner to stretch the EMCC lead to 21-13 with just under two minutes remaining until intermission. Coahoma’s attempt at one final score before the break was thwarted near the end zone when EMCC sophomore Anthony Hines of Starkville picked off his second interception of the year at the 3-yard line on the final play of the half.
The visitors from Scooba set the tone for the second half on their initial possession, moving the ball 65 yards on 10 plays to make it a two-score contest, 28-13, on a 3-yard scoring burst up the middle by Starkville’s Pat Shed four minutes into the half.
To their credit, a game Coahoma ballclub responded by taking nearly eight minutes off the game clock during a 19-play scoring march that covered 79 yards and concluded with a 3-yard bolt into the end zone by Kantrel James. Gallagher’s PAT was true and EMCC’s lead was trimmed to 28-20 with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
Despite Coahoma’s valiant effort through the first three quarters, the Lions’ offensive efficiency seemed to wear down the Tiger defenders during the final period. The EMCC defense also stepped up late in the contest by forcing consecutive three-and-out possessions during a 21-point quarter for the visitors.
Freshman running back Floyd Graves of Newton tallied his first collegiate touchdown from 4 yards out on the first play of the final period. On EMCC’s next possession, Mackey again hooked up with Steele on a 10-yard scoring pass to make it a 42-20 contest with 11:15 remaining. The touchdown catch was Steele’s fourth of the season and Mackey’s 17th scoring strike on the year. The reigning NJCAA Region 23 Offensive MVP methodically distributed 27-of-30 passes among 10 different receivers on the night for 276 yards and four touchdowns, along with picking up 95 rushing yards on nine attempts.
Shed’s 1-yard scoring plunge over the top with 3:55 left officially sealed East Mississippi’s 12th straight MACJC North Division win dating back to the 2007 campaign, while also extending the Lions’ series winning streak over Coahoma to 15 consecutive games. Shed, a former Starkville High School standout, ended the evening with 93 rushing yards, including a pair of scores, on 11 carries to raise his team-leading touchdown total to seven on the year.
Currently ranked 10th nationally by JC Grid-Wire and 12th in the NJCAA/JCFootball.com poll, head coach Buddy Stephens’ North Division-leading EMCC Lions, 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the division, will play at home for the first time since Sept. 17 when they entertain Northeast Mississippi on Saturday, Oct. 10, as part of East Mississippi’s homecoming festivities. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 October 2009 )|
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