|Reigning state champion EMCC begins defense of football title Saturday at Copiah-Lincoln|
Kickoff for the opening-round state playoff contest is set for 5 p.m. at Stone Stadium on the Co-Lin campus.SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College begins defense of its school-first MACJC state football championship by taking on 10th-ranked Copiah-Lincoln Saturday evening in Wesson.
Ticket prices for Saturday’s playoff game pitting the visiting EMCC Lions (5-4, 4-2) against the home-standing Wolfpack of Co-Lin (8-1, 5-1) will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Along with being broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio (107.9) with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard at the microphone, 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 addition, Co-Lin is scheduled to carry the live webcast of Saturday’s playoff game on www.colinathletics.com.
Following a sluggish 0-3 start to begin the season, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 5-4 EMCC Lions have claimed five of their last six decisions to complete one of the greatest regular-season turnarounds in school history. With a 4-2 mark in the MACJC’s North Division standings, East Mississippi finished the regular season tied for second place with Itawamba and Northeast Mississippi after posting a 38-14 home triumph over Holmes last Thursday. Benefitting from losses by Northeast and ICC last week, the Lions secured the North’s No. 2 seed by virtue of the point differential tiebreaker.
Fourth-ranked and North Division champion Northwest Mississippi (9-0, 6-0) will play host to 12th-ranked and No. 2 South seed Mississippi Gulf Coast (7-2, 5-1) Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.) in Senatobia in the state’s other playoff contest. Saturday’s winners will then get together to vie for the 2010 MACJC state football championship next Saturday, Nov. 13. This year’s state playoffs feature the MACJC’s two most potent scoring attacks in Gulf Coast (360 points scored in 2010) and EMCC (332), along with showcasing the state’s top two stingiest defenses with Northwest (112 points allowed in 2010) and Co-Lin (145).
With a composite three-year record of 24-7 under Stephens’ direction, East Mississippi will be making a third consecutive appearance in the state football playoffs after having earned only one previous playoff berth (1984) in school history prior to Stephens’ arrival. A year ago as 11-1 Mississippi Bowl champions, the Lions rebounded from a Week 4 home loss to Mississippi Gulf Coast to claim a second straight North Division title en route to knocking off both Jones County (26-16) and Gulf Coast (75-71) in Scooba during the state playoffs. EMCC’s 2008 squad completed an 8-2 campaign by dropping a 42-35 first-round playoff decision at home to Pearl River.
Following the precedent set by the past two EMCC football teams with NJCAA All-America quarterback and current Ole Miss Rebel Randall Mackey at the controls, this year’s East Mississippi squad continues to rank among the nation’s top offensive teams. Now with sophomore Brad Henderson of Starkville as the team’s signal-caller, the 2010 Lions ascend the NJCAA’s team statistical leaders with an average of 320.0 passing yards per contest and 27 passing touchdowns on the year. EMCC also stands third nationally in total offense, averaging 458.3 yards of total offense per game to rank behind only Ellsworth CC of Iowa (478.7 yds/gm) and Grand Rapids CC of Michigan (459.0).
With Henderson completing nearly 62 percent of his passes (215-of-349 passing) for 2,618 yards, 25 touchdowns and only seven interceptions for the season, the EMCC passing attack also features 10 different receivers with at least 12 catches on the year, including seven with 20 or more grabs. Complementing their nationally rated aerial game, the Lions also tout sophomore backs Trayshun King (Columbia) and Floyd Graves (Newton County) with 500 and 357 rushing yards, respectively. The veteran running back tandem has also combined for 13 rushing touchdowns and caught 45 passes between them this season.
Defensively, East Mississippi trails only Copiah-Lincoln among the MACJC’s team statistical leaders in passing defense during the regular season. Co-Lin has allowed an average of only 146.7 passing yards an outing in 2010, while EMCC follows close behind at just 158.6 yards through the air per contest. Individually, sophomore safety Perrance Ward of West Point is tied for sixth nationally with five interceptions on the year.
Guided by head coach Glenn Davis, the Wolves of Copiah-Lincoln enter postseason play ranked 10th nationally in the current NJCAA poll after putting together an impressive 8-1 regular-season campaign. Co-Lin’s lone setback of the year was a 23-3 road loss to South Division runner-up Mississippi Gulf Coast back on Oct. 16 in Perkinston. The Wolfpack’s non-divisional victories this season have come against Coahoma (33-6), Holmes (28-9) and Northeast Mississippi (23-3).
East Mississippi owns a pair of recent victories over Copiah-Lincoln, having prevailed in Wesson (27-13) during the 2009 season opener and previously in Scooba (28-9) to kick off the 2008 campaign.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 November 2010 )|
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