|EMCC Lions welcome No. 19 Pearl River for Saturday's football homecoming contest|
Kickoff for Saturday’s inter-divisional gridiron battle is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field.SCOOBA – The East Mississippi Lions step out of division play for the final time this regular season by playing host to the 19th-ranked Wildcats of Pearl River Saturday afternoon during 2010 Homecoming Weekend on the Scooba campus.
As part of this weekend’s homecoming festivities, East Mississippi is set to recognize the school’s eight-member 2010 Sports Hall of Fame induction class at midfield during pre-game activities. In addition, the school’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year recipient and Distinguished Service Award winner will be honored, along with the presentation of EMCC’s 2010 Homecoming Court taking place during halftime of Saturday’s EMCC-PRCC football contest.
Saturday’s East Mississippi-Pearl River meeting figures to showcase the nation’s top two passing offenses among the NJCAA’s current team statistical rankings. With sophomore quarterback Brad Henderson at the controls, the Lions presently top the NJCAA ranks with an average of 277.2 passing yards per contest, followed close behind by the Wildcats at 274.0 yards an outing. EMCC and Pearl River have also combined for 25 passing touchdowns between them for the season.
Head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions enter the week at 2-4 overall and 2-2 in MACJC North Division play after dropping a key 49-42 home decision to Northeast Mississippi last week in Scooba. The reigning state champions had previously bounced back with consecutive divisional road wins over Itawamba (37-10) and Coahoma (49-14) after falling three straight weeks (Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hinds & Northwest Mississippi) to open the 2010 campaign.
Among this week’s MACJC/Region 23 football standings, East Mississippi presently stands fourth in the North Division behind sixth-ranked Northwest Mississippi (3-0 in MACJC North), Northeast Mississippi (3-1) and Itawamba (2-1). No. 8 Copiah-Lincoln tops the South Division with a 4-0 division mark, followed by 11th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast and No. 19 Pearl River with identical 3-1 division records.
Ranking third nationally with an average of 251.8 passing yards per game, EMCC’s Henderson has completed 61 percent (141-of-232) of his passes on the year for 1,511 yards and 13 touchdowns. The former Starkville High School product has not thrown an interception in his last four outings. On the receiving end, East Mississippi features nine different players with 10 or more catches for the season. In addition, eight EMCC players have been on the receiving end of touchdown passes this year.
On the heels of his second 100-yard rushing effort of the season, sophomore Trayshun King of Columbia has taken over the Lions’ rushing lead with 317 yards on 49 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per tote. Newton County’s Floyd Graves follows with 263 yards on 62 rushes. Both backs have five rushing touchdowns apiece on the year.
Though having struggled at times against the run this season, East Mississippi’s pass defense is ranked 14th nationally and second in the state while allowing an average of just 131.8 passing yards per contest. Over their last three outings combined, the Lions have surrendered a composite total of only 158 passing yards against Northeast (50 yards), Coahoma (45) and Itawamba (63). Individually, sophomore free safety Perrance Ward of West Point is tied for seventh among the NJCAA leaders with four interceptions on the year – all coming in his last three games.
Guided by ninth-year head coach Tim Hatten, the Pearl River Wildcats are 4-2 overall and ranked 19th nationally after dropping a 21-14 decision to division-leading Copiah-Lincoln last week in Wesson. PRCC’s other setback this year came at home by a 27-17 tally against North-leading Northwest Mississippi during the opening week of the season.
Most recently in this inter-divisional series, EMCC and Pearl River met two years ago on the gridiron with the Wildcats earning a 42-35 decision over the Lions in the semifinals of the 2008 state playoffs played in Scooba. With the scheduled 2005 meeting cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina, East Mississippi’s most recent football win over PRCC was a 35-3 victory in Poplarville during the 1999 campaign.
The audio-streamed broadcast of Saturday’s EMCC homecoming contest against Pearl River will be made available through WFCA-FM’s website at www.wfca108.com with Jonathan Holmes set to handle the play-by-play duties. The game can also be heard online by logging onto EMCC’s athletics website at http://athletics.eastms.edu.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 October 2010 )|
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