|East Mississippi falls 48-21 at 10th-ranked Copiah Lincoln in state football semifinals|
WESSON – In an MACJC football playoff contest pitting the state’s most potent offense against the state’s stingiest defense, the 10th-ranked and home-standing Copiah-Lincoln Wolfpack held reigning state champion East Mississippi to a season-low 260 yards of total offense in claiming a 48-21 victory Saturday evening at Stone Stadium on the Co-Lin campus.
In Saturday’s other state semifinals, visiting 12th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast ended fourth-ranked Northwest Mississippi’s perfect season with a 52-24 road victory over the previously unbeaten Rangers in Senatobia. In an MACJC South Division matchup, the MGCCC Bulldogs will travel to Wesson to meet the Wolves of Co-Lin this Saturday (Nov. 13) at 5 p.m. for the 2010 state football championship of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Last month (Oct. 16) in Perkinston, Gulf Coast, now 8-2 on the year, handed 9-1 Co-Lin its lone loss of the season with a 23-3 homecoming triumph over the Wolfpack.
During Saturday’s semifinals in Wesson, Co-Lin scored on its first two possessions of the contest to jump out to an early 14-0 lead with 4:34 remaining in the opening quarter. The Wolfpack’s opening 74-yard drive was capped by a 25-yard quarterback keeper by Percy Turner. Taking advantage of a missed fourth-and-two conversion attempt by the Lions on their opening possession, the home team then drove 61 yards in nine plays. Turner went over from a yard out for the quick two-touchdown advantage.
Following a second straight empty offensive series by the visitors, the Lions managed to get on the scoreboard via special teams. EMCC sophomore running back Floyd Graves blocked Justin Danise’s punt, while backfield teammate Trayshun King rumbled 17 yards for the Lions’ first score coming at the 1:16 mark. Taylor Walker’s successful point-after-touchdown try cut the deficit in half heading into the second quarter.
The South Division champions calmly responded by moving the ball through the air on their next possession. With Turner hitting 5-of-5 passes on the drive, including a 14-yard scoring strike to running back Joel Davis, Co-Lin went 60 yards on nine plays to move ahead 20-7 with 12:10 remaining in the half.
The Lions seemed to be gaining their offensive rhythm when they drove 66 yards on eight plays to close the gap to 20-14 on Brad Henderson’s 7-yard touchdown toss to Andre Taylor at the 8:07 mark.
At that point, Co-Lin’s state-best defense reclaimed the momentum for the home team. On a third-and-long play deep within EMCC territory, Henderson fumbled while being sacked by Jason Catchings and Terrance Coleman. Catchings pounced on the loose ball in the end zone to put the Wolfpack on top 27-14 with 4:32 left in the half.
After another empty offensive possession by EMCC, Copiah-Lincoln mounted a 64-yard drive during the closing minutes of the opening half that resulted in a 1-yard scoring burst by Montrell Conner. Danise’s PAT made it a 34-14 contest heading into halftime.
With neither team mustering any significant offense to open the second half, Co-Lin was first to reach the end zone following intermission. Aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty called on the visitors, the Wolfpack efficiently moved 66 yards on three plays to supply the only scoring of the third quarter. Davis accounted for all 51 yards of offense on the drive on three rushes, including his 25-yarder around right end to push the margin to 41-14.
As East Mississippi had a pair of apparent second-half touchdown passes nullified due to offensive pass interference penalties, the two teams traded scores in the final quarter to result in the final 48-21 outcome. After Henderson scored from 12 yards out at the 5:41 mark, Davis accounted for his third touchdown of the game with a 32-yard scoring run with 4:00 left.
Heading into the contest ranked among the national team leaders in passing offense (320 yards per game), total offense (458.3 yds/gm) and scoring (36.9 pts/gm), the Lions were limited to a season-low 145 passing yards by Co-Lin’s stout defensive unit. In contrast, Copiah-Lincoln racked up 450 yards of total offense on the night. Turner registered 265 yards on the night with 11-of-20 passing for 169 yards through the air and another 96 rushing yards on seven carries. Davis led all rushers with 103 yards on 12 attempts.
Coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions finished their comeback 2010 campaign with a 5-5 record despite dropping three straight games to open the season. With a three-year composite mark of 24-8 under Stephens’ guidance, East Mississippi has made three consecutive state playoff appearances after having earned only one playoff berth (1984) in the program’s history prior to his arrival on the Scooba campus.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 November 2010 )|
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