|EMCC Lions celebrate homecoming with 42-36 triumph over No. 19 Pearl River|
SCOOBA – The Lions of East Mississippi celebrated a successful football homecoming by claiming a 42-36 victory over 19th-ranked Pearl River Saturday afternoon at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field.
Having dropped their previous three home decisions of the season all by single-possession outcomes, the Lions picked up their first home win of the 2010 campaign with Saturday’s six-point triumph over the visiting Wildcats. Head coach Buddy Stephens’ 3-4 EMCC squad, 2-2 in MACJC North Division play, now aim to secure a winning season by finishing up the year at Mississippi Delta next week (Oct. 21) and at home against Holmes the following Thursday (Oct. 28).
During Saturday’s inter-divisional contest in sun-drenched Scooba, the two teams traded turnovers within the first minute of play. On the third snap of the afternoon, EMCC sophomore quarterback Brad Henderson was picked off for the first time since the second week of the season when PRCC’s Delvin Ervin stepped in front of a pass. However, the Lions got the ball right back when signal-caller Melvin German fumbled the ball back over to the home team on PRCC’s opening play from scrimmage.
Following a three-and-out possession by EMCC, the Lions’ defense set up their initial score of the contest. Having sat out the past three games due to an injured foot, freshman defensive end Denico Autry (Albemarle, N.C.) made his presence felt early by causing and recovering German’s second fumble in as many possessions. Two plays later, Henderson scored on a 32-yard bootleg run to the left corner of the end zone at the 8:46 mark.
The visitors wasted little time knotting up the score at 7-7 on German’s 60-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Jhyryan Taylor. Capped by the catch-and-run scoring play, the Wildcats moved 94 yards on just five plays to tie the contest with 6:02 remaining in the opening quarter.
After reclaiming the advantage just two minutes later on Henderson’s 27-yard scoring aerial to Andre Taylor (Washington, D.C.), the Lions’ defense once again stepped up as Autry scooped up another Pearl River fumble on a completed sideline pass. Following a pair of running plays by Trayshun King, the sophomore back from Columbia converted a short swing pass from Henderson into a 35-yard touchdown by spinning away from defenders and pushing EMCC ahead 21-7 with 13:46 left in the second quarter.
Aided by a pair of pass interference penalties called on the home team, the Wildcats mounted an 11-play, 76-yard scoring drive that was capped by German’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Steve McNair Jr. The successful PAT closed the gap again to 21-14 with 6:49 left until intermission.
Once again the Lions needed only a couple of minutes to temporarily re-establish control of the contest. Set up nicely by a 44-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Rodney Davis (Millbrook, Ala.), King bolted over right tackle for a 10-yard touchdown run - his team-high sixth of the year – to make it a 28-14 contest with 4:46 left in the half.
Having tacked on three more points via Travis Bradley’s 27-yard field goal with no time remaining in the opening half, Pearl River pulled to within five points as a result of its opening drive of the second half. The Wildcats went 66 yards on 10 plays, as German punched it in from 2 yards out five minutes into the quarter. The two-point conversion pass attempt failed and kept the score at 28-23.
The benefactors of excellent field position once again after Floyd Graves’ nifty return of a short kickoff to the midfield area, the Lions needed just four plays and only a single minute to make it a 35-23 ballgame on a 15-yard hookup from Henderson to Taylor.
The visitors missed a golden opportunity to trade punches in this high-scoring slugfest during their next possession. A pair of dropped potential-scoring passes derailed a 12-play PRCC drive that ultimately ended with a muffed bad snap on a 43-yard field goal setup.
The Wildcats did come back to make it a one-possession game on their next series. A fortuitous bounce of the ball on a mishandled second-and-goal play from the 3-yard line resulted in a Pearl River score when fullback Dunzie Goins recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The subsequent failed two-point conversion run attempt kept the score at 35-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
East Mississippi answered right back on its next possession, as Henderson found Meridian’s JJ Harbin for a 42-yard touchdown pass to the left corner of the end zone. Taylor Walker’s sixth successful PAT try of the night stretched EMCC’s cushion out to 42-29 with 11:58 remaining in regulation.
Despite having an apparent kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty on the runback, Pearl River later cut the deficit to six points (42-36) on a 31-yard scoring strike from German to Seth Roberts. The Wildcats then kept EMCC off the scoreboard the following series, as Walker’s 53-yard field goal attempt landed left and short with 5:19 left in the game.
With the balance of the contest quite possibly on the line, East Mississippi’s defensive unit came through again in the clutch on PRCC’s next series. After the Wildcats entered the red zone following a brilliant 38-yard, catch-and-run screen pass from German to McNair Jr., the Lions later pressured German into back-to-back hurried incomplete passes on third and fourth downs inside the 10-yard line.
After taking over possession deep down field, EMCC managed to eat up the remaining 2:42 on the game clock by picking up a couple of key first downs – one coming on a 62-yard run by King and the other by way of a 30-yard halfback option pass play from King to backup quarterback Termarcus Conner of Noxubee County.
Statistically for East Mississippi, Henderson completed 21-of-32 passes on the evening for 252 yards and four touchdowns. The Starkville High School product also ran for 59 yards and a score on seven carries. King topped the century mark on the ground for the third time on the year with an even 100 yards on 10 rushes.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 October 2010 )|
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