|Visiting Northeast Mississippi knocks off EMCC Lions 49-42 in key divisional contest|
SCOOBA – In a key divisional contest featuring five ties, Northeast Mississippi bested the homestanding Lions of East Mississippi in a 49-42 MACJC North Division gridiron shootout Thursday evening at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field.
After EMCC’s Trayshun King knotted the score at 35-all early in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard scoring run – his third rushing touchdown of the night – Northeast’s Jaquise Cook continued his stellar ground performance by tallying his third and fourth rushing scores of the game from 26 and 5 yards out down the stretch to essentially put the contest away for the visitors. The Tigers’ sophomore back from Ripley was the star of the contest by running for 255 yards, including the four touchdowns, on 34 carries for the winners.
Playing without their starting quarterback Clint Wilson, Northeast Mississippi made up for its lack of a passing game on this night by rushing 63 times as a team for 330 yards and seven touchdowns.
East Mississippi’s only lead of the contest came on King’s 1-yard burst at the 13:39 mark of the opening quarter, capitalizing on Perrance Ward’s fourth interception of the season – all in the last three games – that came on Northeast’s first play from scrimmage. After tying the contest at 7-7 on their next series with a 1-yard plunge by Jamarcus Goodloe, the Tigers took advantage of EMCC’s subsequent fumbled kickoff return with Cook’s first of four scores on the night - a 13-yard cutback jaunt over the middle - to put the visitors on top by a 14-7 tally with 9:09 left in the first period.
From there, the two teams traded scores for the next two quarters until Northeast’s back-to-back tallies in the final period provided the winning margin.
After EMCC’s defense held the Tigers to three straight scoreless possessions, the Lions mounted a 15-play, 78-yard drive that produced a 4-yard touchdown toss to receiver Andre Taylor (Washington, D.C.) from quarterback Brad Henderson midway through the second quarter. The visitors used some play trickery to move back ahead, 21-14, heading into halftime. Following an apparent three-and-out forced by the home team, NEMCC punter Stevie Davis found a wide-open Ryan Jones over the middle for a 29-yard gain to keep the drive moving. Five plays later, back-up quarterback Bryan Steele scored on a 6-yard scramble around left end for the Tigers.
The second half began with a scoring flurry, as the combatants combined for three scores within the first four minutes of the third quarter. Aided by a 30-yard aerial from Henderson to former Noxubee County All-American Pat Patterson to the 2-yard line, the Lions capped their opening series of the second half with King’s second touchdown of the night. The former Columbia High School product hit the century mark for the second time on the year by finishing with 101 rushing yards and the three scores on 13 carries.
Helped by a 15-yard penalty called on EMCC during the ensuing short kickoff, the Tigers took advantage of the superb field position and needed just three plays to move 36 yards for the go-ahead score. After Cook’s 27-yard rushing touchdown put the Tigers on top 28-21 at the 11:45 mark, East Mississippi deadlocked the high-scoring affair for the fourth time when Henderson found freshman receiver JJ Harbin on a swing pass to the right side. The former Meridian High School standout cut back left over the middle of the field and scampered 61 yards into the left corner of the end zone to even the score at 28-28 with 11:02 remaining in the third quarter.
After both teams swapped defensive stands on respective fourth-down attempts, Northeast closed out the third-quarter scoring with Jonathan Johnson’s 7-yard score on an end-around carry to the right corner of the end zone. Having previously dropped four straight series decisions to East Mississippi dating back to 2006, the Tigers maintained a 35-28 advantage heading into the fourth quarter of Thursday’s offensive divisional showdown.
Despite having to recover two of their own fumbles on the opening drive of the final period, the Lions wasted little time in knotting up the score for the fifth time by moving 69 yards on eight plays to make it a 35-35 contest after King’s third score of the night coming with 11:53 left in regulation. However, EMCC surrendered a 41-yard return on the ensuing kickoff to give the Tigers excellent field position once again at midfield. Following Steele’s first two pass completions of the contest, Cook put the visitors on top for good at the 8:44 mark with a 26-yard scoring run over right tackle.
Northeast seemed to have put the ballgame safely away when Cook capped his brilliant rushing performance with a 49-yard dash that preceded his fourth score of the evening – a 5-yard burst over left tackle – to give the Tigers a seemingly comfortable 49-35 lead with just 2:29 remaining in regulation. Within the next minute of play, Henderson completed three straight passes to direct the Lions 60 yards in just three plays and to within one score. The former Starkville High School product capped a 24-of-35, 280-yard passing night by hitting receiver Rodney Davis (Millbrook, Ala.) on a 38-yard touchdown pass to the left corner of the end zone with 1:27 showing on the game clock.
East Mississippi’s hopes of a potential last-minute comeback were dashed when they were penalized for being off sides on the resulting kickoff. The 4-2 Northeast Tigers managed to run out the clock and maintained their hold on second place in the North Division standings with a 3-1 mark.
Head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions, now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the North Division, step out of divisional play for the final time this regular season next week by playing host to the Pearl River Wildcats on Saturday, Oct. 16 as part of East Mississippi’s 2010 homecoming festivities on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for the EMCC-PRCC contest is set for 2 p.m. at Sullivan-Windham Field.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 08 October 2010 )|
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