|No. 9 EMCC Lions grind out 20-17 road win over Hinds in non-divisional MACJC gridiron matchup|
RAYMOND – Ninth-ranked East Mississippi Community College’s first road test of the 2011 football campaign proved to be just that, as the visiting Lions managed a narrow 20-17 victory over a game Hinds Community College squad Thursday night at Joe Renfroe Stadium on the Raymond campus.
Despite more than doubling the home-standing Eagles in total yards on offense, 504-250, in the non-divisional MACJC contest, EMCC could not breathe easy until the final horn. However, things looked very promising for the visitors during the outset, as the Lions produced points in two of their first three possessions.
It took EMCC just under two minutes and only five plays to move 50 yards down field following Rodney Davis’ game-opening 50-yard kickoff return. With freshman running back Rodriguez Moore setting the tone with gains of 14 and 30 yards on the ground in his first two carries of the game, fellow freshman quarterback Bo Wallace found Lacoltan Bester cutting across the middle of the field three plays later for a 3-yard scoring strike. Sophomore kicker Taylor Walker connected on the point-after-touchdown to make it a quick 7-0 game by the 13:11 mark.
With Hinds’ first two possessions of the game resulting in three-and-outs, the Lions went on top 10-0 with Walker’s 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The former Northwest Rankin product atoned for his errant 39-yard field-goal attempt earlier in the quarter.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard as the opening period expired when quarterback Deon Anthony connected with Quantavius Leslie on a 20-yard scoring play through the air. Kyle Williams’ PAT trimmed Hinds’ deficit to 10-7 heading into the second period.
The second quarter pretty much featured a battle of the placekickers with each kicker converting on 1-of-2 attempts during the period. EMCC’s Walker got things started by capping a 13-play drive with a successful 27-yard attempt. On Hinds’ subsequent drive, Williams’ 39-yarder sailed left to keep the score at 13-7 in favor of the visitors from Scooba,
Later in the period, the Eagles would capitalize on Tavarius Wilson’s midfield interception of a Wallace aerial with Williams’ successful boot from 19 yards out. The Lions responded quickly by getting the ball downfield with the half winding down, but Walker’s 29-yard attempt misfired on the final play of the first half.
East Mississippi managed the only scoring of the third quarter by mixing up the pass with the run on its first possession of the period. With Wallace connecting on all five pass attempts during the drive, Davis’ 16-yard end-around set up Moore’s 10-yard scoring burst up the middle. Walker’s PAT put the Lions in front, 20-10, with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The contest then settled into a defensive mode, as both teams traded punts on the next four combined possessions. Hinds put up a fight in the final period by putting together a 16-play, 55-yard scoring drive that chewed up 7:26 on the game clock. Anthony’s 2-yard dive into the end zone and Williams’ PAT kick trimmed the margin to 20-17 with 6:02 left in the contest.
With Wallace, the reigning NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in last week’s 34-30 season-opening home win over then-second ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast, at the controls, the Lions whittled away the final 5:52 by basically staying on the ground. Wallace himself was instrumental in keeping the drive alive midway through the possession with back-to-back, 4-yard pickups by first escaping a sack on a third-down play and then rolling right on a fourth-down conversion to essentially seal the victory.
Wallace, a former Arkansas State transfer hailing from Pulaski, Tenn., finished the contest completing 27-of-41 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown. Wallace evenly distributed his aerials among seven different receivers on the night, led by Meridian’s Hamp Glover with six catches for 79 yards.
Moore, a first-year performer from Bastrop, La., bolstered EMCC’s 232-yard team rushing attack by tallying 202 yards of his own on the ground on 23 attempts.
Now 2-0 on the season after having already avenged last year’s setbacks to MACJC South Division foes Gulf Coast and Hinds, head coach Buddy Stephens’ No. 9 EMCC Lions travel to sixth-ranked Northwest Mississippi next Thursday (Sept. 15) for a crucial Top 10 showdown between preseason North Division favorites. Kickoff in Senatobia is set for 6:30 p.m.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 09 September 2011 )|
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