|EMCC Lions rally from early deficit to claim 42-27 division win at Mississippi Delta|
MOORHEAD – Visiting East Mississippi rallied from a 27-point, first-half deficit to score 42 unanswered points en route to claiming a 42-27 comeback road victory over Mississippi Delta Thursday evening at Jim Randall Field on the MDCC campus.
In winning their fourth game in their last five outings after an 0-3 start on the year, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions moved to .500 for the season at 4-4 overall and kept their state playoff hopes alive in the process. The Lions, now 3-2 in MACJC North Division play, must knock off Holmes next Thursday (Oct. 28) in Scooba and await next week’s separate outcomes of divisional foes Northeast Mississippi (5-3, 4-2) and Itawamba (5-3, 4-1) in order to realize their postseason fate.
An early turnover followed by a poor punt and coupled with a costly unsportsmanlike penalty contributed to an early first-quarter deficit for the visitors. By the end of the opening 15 minutes of play, the Trojans led 13-0 on a pair of touchdown runs by Jarvis Smith. Another Smith scoring run at the start of the second quarter and an 8-yard interception return of an errant Brad Henderson pass for a quick touchdown by Xzavier Johnson put Delta on top 27-0 midway through the period.
To their credit, the Lions didn’t panic and began to pick away at the four-touchdown deficit. Responding to his thrown interception just moments earlier, Henderson completed four straight passes to move the Lions 47 yards and onto the scoreboard via a 3-yard touchdown toss to freshman receiver Rodney Davis (Millbrook, Ala.).
With EMCC’s defense beginning to settle into the contest, Henderson hit Kemper County’s Lacoltan Bester for a 32-yard touchdown strike to make it a 27-14 contest with 3:14 remaining in the half. Both teams had chances to put up more points during the closing three minutes of the half, but Delta placekicker Ridge Rochell missed a 22-yard field goal attempt and later had a 40-yarder blocked as the half ended. The Lions also had a long drive fizzle as they approached the red zone during the final minute of play.
After the two teams traded punts to open the second half, Henderson hit sophomore wide receiver Marcus McQuarley with an aerial down the right sideline that the former Meridian High School standout snatched away from Delta defender Jermerilous Moten on the way to completing a 78-yard, catch-and-run scoring play. Taylor Walker’s successful point-after-touchdown kick made it a one-possession game at 27-21 with 12:19 left in the third period.
The defense began to stiffen on both sides of the field until Henderson connected with Davis on a 64-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Walker’s PAT gave the visitors the lead for the first time on the night at 28-27 with 11:06 remaining.
EMCC’s defense continued to stymie the home team for the remainder of the evening, holding the Trojans scoreless for the entire second half. Sophomore safety Perrance Ward of West Point picked off his fifth interception of the campaign with 5:49 left to play to help solidify the second-half turnaround.
East Mississippi resorted to churning out the game clock on the ground during the final period, adding a 13-yard scoring run from Floyd Graves of Newton County and a 16-yard touchdown jaunt from Columbia’s Trayshun King to account for the final 42-27 outcome on Mississippi Delta’s homecoming night.
Statistically for the night, Henderson, a former Starkville High School product, was credited with a career-high 502 passing yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-48 accuracy through the air. On the receiving end, Davis hauled in 10 aerials for 190 yards and a pair of scores, while Meridian’s JJ Harbin (6 catches) and Bester (5 catches) tallied 95 and 94 receiving yards, respectively.
Defensively, the Lions held Delta to just 9-of-23 passing for only 48 yards on the evening. In his second game back after missing three contests due to a foot injury, freshman defensive end Denico Autry (Albemarle, N.C.) was credited with 11 solo tackles and two assists for 13 total stops, including a 4-yard sack and two other tackles for loss. Along with picking up his team-high fifth interception of the year to rank among the national leaders, Ward totaled 11 stops (9 solos & 2 assists), including a 1-yard sack and another 7-yard tackle for loss.
In their regular-season finale next week against Holmes, the EMCC Lions will draw the curtains on a sentimental piece of school history by playing their final scheduled home football game on the present site of Sullivan-Windham Field. EMCC’s current home football playing site dates all the way back to the 1940s. Currently being constructed at a different location across the Scooba campus, the ‘New’ Sullivan-Windham Field is scheduled to be fully operational for the kickoff of the 2011 EMCC football campaign.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 22 October 2010 )|
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