|East Mississippi ventures to Mississippi Delta to close out road gridiron slate|
SCOOBA – Eyeing a third consecutive winning season and still clinging to a chance of earning a third straight playoff berth, the Lions of East Mississippi travel to Moorhead to take on the Mississippi Delta Trojans Thursday evening on the MDCC campus. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Delta’s Jim Randall Field.
Currently in fourth place within the MACJC’s North Division standings with a 2-2 division mark, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 3-4 EMCC Lions must win this week at Delta and next week at home against Holmes to have any chance at possibly earning a state playoff berth for the third consecutive year. Fifth-ranked Northwest Mississippi (7-0 overall and 4-0 in MACJC North) ascends the MACJC North Division standings, followed by 18th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (5-2, 4-1) and Itawamba (4-3, 3-1). In a pivotal division contest, Northeast plays at Itawamba on Thursday for a chance to clinch one of the two divisional playoff spots.
Looking to post a third straight winning season after last year’s 11-1 state championship season and an 8-2 campaign in 2008, East Mississippi picked up an impressive non-division victory this past Saturday with a 42-36 homecoming triumph over the then-No. 19 Pearl River Wildcats. Most recently in MACJC North Division play, the Lions dropped a crucial 49-42 home decision to Northeast Mississippi two weeks ago after previously claiming convincing back-to-back division road wins over Itawamba (37-10) and Coahoma (49-14).
Statistically, Thursday’s EMCC-Delta contest figures to pit the Lions’ nationally rated offensive unit against the MACJC’s top-ranked defensive team against the pass. East Mississippi entered the week ranked among the nation’s top-five statistical leaders in team passing (277.9 yards per game) and team total offense (427.4 yds/gm). On the flipside, Mississippi Delta presently tops the MACJC team ranks in allowing an average of just 107.4 passing yards per contest, which would stand fifth among the NJCAA’s team statistical leaders. The Trojans also rank third in the state in total defense (272.6 yds/gm) behind South Division leaders Mississippi Gulf Coast and Copiah-Lincoln.
Individually for the EMCC Lions, veteran quarterback Brad Henderson continues to quietly put together an excellent sophomore campaign on the heels of former EMCC All-American Randall Mackey’s brilliant junior college career. A product of Starkville High School, Henderson has completed 61.4 percent (162-of-264 passing) of his passes along with throwing for 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He presently ranks among the top five nationally in both passing offense and total offense with an average of 251.9 passing yards and 289.4 yards of total offense per outing.
Along with featuring nine different receivers sporting 10 or more catches on the year, the Lions have also bolstered their running game of late with the emergence of sophomore Trayshun King. The former Columbia High School product has posted back-to-back, 100-yard rushing efforts the past two weeks to move into EMCC’s rushing lead. For the season, King has churned out 417 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 59 carries for an impressive 7.1 yards per attempt.
Defensively, EMCC sophomore safety Perrance Ward of West Point is tied for eighth nationally with four interceptions on the year, while sophomore linebacker Donnelli Johnson, a product of East Oktibbeha High School, ranks among the MACJC’s tackles leaders with 79 total stops (51 solos & 28 assists).
Guided by veteran head coach Jay Miller, the Trojans of Mississippi Delta are 1-6 overall and 1-3 in division play after dropping a 33-3 decision to North Division frontrunner Northwest Mississippi last week in Senatobia. MDCC’s lone victory of the campaign was a 34-7 home win over Holmes two weeks ago.
Under Stephens’ direction, East Mississippi has claimed the past two gridiron meetings with Mississippi Delta, earning a 28-10 home win over the Trojans last year in Scooba and previously scoring a 35-15 road triumph over Delta two years ago in Moorhead.
Thursday’s EMCC-Delta 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.
In not only closing out their 2010 regular-season slate next week at home against Holmes, the EMCC Lions will draw the curtains on a sentimental piece of school history as well. East Mississippi’s Oct. 28 home game versus the Holmes Bulldogs marks the scheduled final home football game to be played at the current site of Sullivan-Windham Field, which has served as the Lions’ home football playing site on the Scooba campus since the 1940s. With a planned total seating capacity of 5,000 and synthetic turf on the agenda, EMCC’s ‘New’ Sullivan-Windham Field is expected to be fully operational to kick off the 2011 football campaign.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 October 2010 )|
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