|EMCC to debut New Sullivan-Windham Field by hosting Gulf Coast in Thursday's season opener|
Kickoff for the rematch of the 2009 MACJC state title game is set for 7 p.m. on the Scooba campus, following pre-game festivities and stadium ribbon-cutting ceremonies slated to begin at 6:30 p.m.
SCOOBA – A gridiron battle of the past two junior college state champions kicks off the 2011 MACJC football campaign, as East Mississippi Community College debuts the school’s $4.7 million, 5,000-seat New Sullivan-Windham Field Thursday night by playing host to Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.Available $25 chair-back seats will be sold at the gate on game day, while general admission seats will sell for $10 each. In addition, $5 student tickets will be offered with a valid student ID. EMCC students, staff and faculty will be admitted free of charge with a valid school ID. As a special military invitation for EMCC’s season opener, there will be free admission for uniformed service members.
Thursday’s much-anticipated season opener between the Lions and Bulldogs will be broadcast live on WLSM-FM Radio, 107.1 out of Louisville, with Jonathan Holmes set to describe the play-by-play action and Glen Beard slated to provide the color analysis. Live streaming of the game’s video and audio broadcast will also be available on EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – as well as through the website facilities of WFCA-FM Radio – www.wfcafm108.com – out of French Camp. Additionally, the contest will be featured as jucoweekly.org’s Game of the Week to start the season, with a video recap of the game plus post-game interviews with coaches and players scheduled for a Friday website posting on www.jucoweekly.org.
Pitting two of the most successful gridiron programs in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) ranks during recent years, EMCC and Gulf Coast have split their last four head-to-head meetings dating back to the 2008 campaign. Two years ago on the Scooba campus, the home-standing EMCC Lions avenged a 43-26 regular-season setback to MGCCC by capturing their first state football title with a memorable 75-71 shootout victory over the visiting Bulldogs in the 2009 MACJC state championship game played at EMCC’s previous football site. Back in 2008, the Lions re-established themselves on the national junior college football scene by claiming a 27-23 upset road victory over then-No. 2 ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast, while the Bulldogs earned a 40-21 season-opening home triumph over EMCC a year ago in Perkinston.
Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Buddy Stephens, the 2011 Lions of East Mississippi are ranked 16th in the NJCAA Preseason Top 25 as well as 14th in the JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 preseason team rankings. With a combined three-year record of 24-8 under Stephens’ direction since 2008, EMCC earned a third straight appearance in the MACJC state playoffs a year ago with a runner-up finish in the MACJC’s North Division standings. Along with their state championship and Mississippi Bowl victory over Arizona Western in 2009, the Lions claimed back-to-back MACJC North Division regular-season titles in 2008 and 2009 with consecutive undefeated (6-0) league marks.
As a team heading into the upcoming season, the EMCC Lions return the bulk of their offensive line and receiving corps that ranked fourth among the NJCAA’s total offense team leaders last year. East Mississippi’s improved defensive unit looks to be headlined by sophomore defensive linemen Denico Autry and Damien Jacobs. A 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end from Albemarle, N.C., Autry has been tabbed as the MACJC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by Mississippi Gridiron magazine and is considered one of the nation’s top defensive prospects among the junior college ranks.
With eighth-year head coach Steve Campbell at the helm, Mississippi Gulf Coast is rated second nationally in the 2011 NJCAA Preseason Top 25 behind defending national champion Navarro College of Texas. The Bulldogs knocked off Copiah-Lincoln in last year’s MACJC title game to earn their third state football championship in the last four years. Gulf Coast also claimed a 62-53 Mississippi Bowl victory over Grand Rapids (Mich.) a year ago to cap its 10-2 campaign.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 August 2011 )|
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