|EMCC Lions improve a notch to No. 3 nationally in this week's NJCAA Top 20 football poll|
The 3 p.m. homecoming contest at NEMCC’s Tiger Stadium will feature a battle of unbeatens, with the winner taking a huge step toward securing this year’s MACJC North Division championship.SCOOBA – Inching up another spot to No. 3 nationally in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football poll, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College begin their final month of the regular season with a Saturday showdown against 12th-ranked Northeast Mississippi in Booneville.
The video stream of Saturday’s marquee MACJC matchup will be available at www.njcaatv.ihigh.com. The contest will also be broadcast live by WFCA-FM radio – 107.9 out of French Camp – with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action and John Lyle Briggs slated to handle the Lions’ sideline reporting duties. The live broadcast can also be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – or by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com.
Because of the significance of Saturday’s EMCC-Northeast gridiron battle, the contest will also be featured as the jucoweekly.org Game of the Week. A game recap highlight video, including post-game interviews with coaches and players from both teams, will be posted on the www.jucoweekly.org website on Monday (Oct. 10).
Having outscored their last two opponents, 104-13, with recent home wins over Coahoma (56-6) and Itawamba (48-7), head coach Buddy Stephens’ 5-0 EMCC Lions have moved up one notch to third in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 poll. Blinn College (TX), which knocked off former-No. 1 Navarro College (TX) this past Saturday, is the NJCAA’s new top-ranked team in the country, followed by Arizona Western College. Snow College (UT) and Butler CC (KS) round out the nation’s Top 5. Other Mississippi schools also ranked this week are Mississippi Gulf Coast (#10), Hinds (#17) and Northwest Mississippi (#18).
This week’s No. 3 rating marks East Mississippi’s highest poll position since being ranked second nationally during the early portion of the 2009 campaign. Two years ago, the Lions avenged an early-season home setback to Mississippi Gulf Coast by claiming their first-ever state football championship with a memorable 75-71 shootout victory over the MGCCC Bulldogs in the 2009 MACJC title game played in Scooba.
Now 29-8 overall and 19-2 in division play under Stephens’ guidance dating back to 2008, the Lions will be seeking to avenge one of those setbacks Saturday afternoon in Booneville. A year ago in Scooba, the visiting Tigers broke loose for 330 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground as a team, including 267 yards and four scores by running back Jaquise Cook, to earn a 49-42 road win over East Mississippi.
As EMCC prepares for Northeast Mississippi on the road this Saturday, the Lions will be looking to maintain their winning ways in revenge-factor games during the Stephens era. Dating back to the 2009 season, the EMCC Lions have successfully prevailed in their six rematch encounters to date against teams to which they had fallen in their prior head-to-head meetings. Most recently, EMCC opened the current campaign by turning the tables on last year’s 0-3 start by knocking off Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hinds and Northwest Mississippi – all ranked in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 - in successive rematch contests earlier this season.
Undefeated in seven MACJC North Division road outings dating back to 2008, East Mississippi’s most recent visit to Booneville resulted in a 49-0 shutout victory over the Tigers three years ago (Oct. 9, 2008). Prior to last year’s home loss to Northeast Mississippi, the Lions had prevailed in four straight series meetings (2006-09) with NEMCC.
Averaging 40.6 points per outing on the year and ranked second nationally with a per-game average of 522.4 yards of total offense, the EMCC Lions have trailed their opposition by a composite total of only two minutes and 11 seconds (2:11) of game clock time during the 2011 season. While having never trailed in wins over Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hinds, Itawamba and Coahoma, EMCC briefly trailed then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi twice in the second and third quarters before edging the Rangers, 45-42, three weeks ago in Senatobia.
Defensively, East Mississippi’s recent one-sided home triumphs over Coahoma (56-6) and Itawamba (48-7), which featured respective halftime leads of 35-0 and 38-0, mark the first time since 2006 that the Lions have limited back-to-back opponents to single digits on the scoreboard.
Off to their best start since 1974, the EMCC Lions are bidding to move to 6-0 on the year for the first time since legendary Hall of Fame football coach Bob “Bull” Sullivan directed his 1964 East Mississippi squad to a program-best 8-0 start on the way to posting a 9-2 record and state runner-up finish.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 October 2011 )|
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