|East Mississippi heads to Itawamba eyeing much-needed North Division triumph|
SCOOBA – Eyeing a much-needed division victory, the Lions of East Mississippi travel to Fulton to meet the Itawamba Indians Thursday evening in an MACJC North Division gridiron matchup. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at ICC’s Lambert Stadium.
Looking to rebound from their first 0-3 start since the 2007 campaign, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions most recently had their 15-game division win string snapped by dropping a 25-19 home decision to now-No. 10 Northwest Mississippi in last week’s division opener. Prior to that, the two-time defending MACJC North Division champions fell at home, 50-42, to Hinds and on the road to now-top ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast by a 40-21 margin in the season opener.
Offensively, East Mississippi stands second nationally (behind Scottsdale CC) in team passing offense with an average of 318.3 passing yards per contest. Sophomore quarterback Brad Henderson of Starkville ranks No. 3 nationally in individual passing at 267.7 yards through the air per outing. Additionally, former Noxubee County All-American Pat Patterson is tied for fifth among the NJCAA receiving ranks with an average of six catches per game. The sophomore wide receiver has 18 receptions on the year for 276 yards and two touchdowns.
While the Lions boast nine receivers with at least five catches on the year, the backfield tandem of Floyd Graves (Newton County) and Trayshun King (Columbia) has collectively accounted for nearly 300 rushing yards and 23 receptions thus far in 2010. Former Meridian High School teammates Marcus McQuarley and Hamp Glover have 10 grabs apiece for the year to give EMCC’s potent receiving corps five players with double-digit catches through the first three weeks.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have seven different defenders with 25 or more total stops on the year. Leading the way is sophomore linebacker Chris Bertucci, who has been credited with 24 solos and 24 assists through the first three games. The Gulfport native also picked off his first collegiate interception last week against Northwest Mississippi. Fellow sophomore linebackers Jimmy Roby (Noxubee County HS) and Donnelli Johnson (East Oktibbeha HS) follow with 37 and 32 total stops, respectively.
Guided by first-year head football coach Jon Williams, Itawamba owns a 1-2 mark on the year heading into its North Division season opener against EMCC. After falling at home to Hinds, 52-31, to open the 2010 campaign and dropping a 34-14 decision at Pearl River two weeks ago, the Indians notched win No. 1 for their rookie head coach with last week’s 21-14 road victory over East Central.
Currently with a three-game series winning streak over Itawamba, the EMCC Lions previously claimed a 28-6 road victory over the Indians a year ago during ICC’s homecoming contest. East Mississippi also topped Itawamba by a 40-34 tally in West Point two years ago, in addition to posting a 31-28 overtime road victory over the Indians to close out the 2007 regular-season slate.
Thursday’s EMCC-ICC divisional contest will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio (107.9) with Jason Crowder set to describe the play-by-play action and Glen Beard slated to provide the color analysis. The live broadcast can also be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfca108.com.
East Mississippi takes to the road next Thursday as well by heading to Clarksdale to meet Coahoma for a 6:30 p.m. divisional encounter. The Lions will then kick off the month of October with back-to-back home outings at Sullivan-Windham Field. Northeast Mississippi visits the EMCC campus for a Thursday, Oct. 7 game, followed by a homecoming meeting with Pearl River on Saturday, Oct. 16.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 September 2010 )|
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