|Impressive season debut win vaults East Mississippi's Lions to No. 9 ranking in NJCAA football poll|
SCOOBA – Having ushered in their New Sullivan-Windham Field with last Thursday’s 34-30 home triumph over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College have been rewarded for their season-opening efforts on the gridiron.
EMCC’s successful season and stadium debut over the reigning state champions of Gulf Coast has lifted head coach Buddy Stephens’ squad to a No. 9 ranking in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football rankings after being listed 16th in the NJCAA’s Preseason Top 25 poll. In addition, the Lions moved up three notches to 12th nationally in this week’s JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 team rankings, which include NJCAA-affiliated schools as well as California-based junior college football programs.
EMCC’s Week 3 opponent, Northwest Mississippi, checks in as this week’s highest rated Mississippi junior college team at No. 6 in the new NJCAA rankings. The Lions will travel to Senatobia to take on the reigning MACJC North Division champion Northwest Rangers on Thursday, Sept. 15.
Reigning national champion Navarro College (Texas) tops the NJCAA’s first regular-season poll of the 2011 campaign, followed by Blinn College (Texas), Hutchinson CC (Kan.), Butler CC (Kan.) and Arizona Western College.
Following opening-week setbacks, Gulf Coast and Pearl River (56-55 OT loss at Northwest) have fallen to 12th and 14th, respectively, in the latest NJCAA rankings. MGCCC and PRCC began the preseason rated No. 2 and No. 8, respectively. Copiah-Lincoln, last year’s state runner-up, and Jones County each received votes but did not crack the Top 20 this week.
The EMCC Lions, now 25-8 under Stephens’ guidance since 2008, travel to Raymond to meet the 1-0 Hinds Eagles Thursday evening (Sept. 8) in inter-divisional play. With veteran head coach and EMCC alumnus Gene Murphy at the Hinds helm, the Eagles kicked off their 2011 campaign with a 44-24 home win over Itawamba last Thursday.
As East Mississippi ventures to Raymond this week, the Lions will be looking to avenge last year’s 50-42 home setback to Hinds. A year ago in Scooba, EMCC could not overcome four first-half turnovers that led to 27 Hinds points and ultimately resulted in the second of three straight defeats for the Lions to open their 2010 campaign.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 September 2011 )|
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