|No. 3 EMCC Lions establish division supremacy with 63-35 road triumph over No. 12 Northeast|
BOONEVILLE – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College established supremacy in the MACJC’s North Division football standings by rolling to a decisive 63-35 road triumph over No. 12 Northeast Mississippi Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium on the Booneville campus.
In a battle of unbeatens with both teams entering the contest 5-0 overall and 3-0 in division play, the EMCC Lions dominated early and often in the opening half by taking a commanding 42-7 lead early in the second quarter on the way to an insurmountable 49-14 halftime advantage. The visitors’ lead ballooned to 63-14 by the 11:27 mark of the third quarter, before Northeast managed to put up three late-game scores against EMCC’s reserve defenders.
Averaging 53 points an outing over their last four games, the Lions rang up 63 points in less than three quarters on a vaunted Northeast Mississippi defense that had previously surrendered only 67 total points – tops in the MACJC - through the first five games of the year.
After EMCC’s starting defensive unit set the tone of the game by backing up the home-standing Tigers 22 yards with three straight negative-yardage plays in their opening possession, the Lions needed just two plays to get on the scoreboard three minutes into the contest. Following a run play, freshman quarterback Bo Wallace found sophomore wide receiver Hamp Glover, of Meridian, over the middle for a 46-yard touchdown.
While the East Mississippi defense prevented the Tigers from crossing midfield in each of their first five possessions, the Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first six offensive drives to stun Northeast’s homecoming crowd to the tune of 42-7 just one minute into the second quarter of play.
First-quarter touchdown passes from Wallace to sophomores JJ Harbin (23 yards), Lacoltan Bester (55 yards) and Termarcus Conner (27 yards) methodically built the lead to 28-0, before the Northeast fans momentarily had something to cheer about when Deion Belue returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score at the end of the opening period.
The Tigers tried to take advantage of the moment by attempting a subsequent onsides kick. Following the unsuccessful attempt to catch the visitors by surprise, it took EMCC just four plays to move the necessary 44 yards to pay dirt when freshman Antoinne Adkins scored on a 6-yard keeper at the 14:30 mark.
Less than a minute later following Shaquille Fluker’s interception of a J.R. Jennings pass, Adkins was on the receiving end of a 74-yard scoring strike from Wallace to make it 42-7 with 13:54 still remaining in the half. Both teams scored again in the second quarter to make the margin 49-14 by the intermission.
Hitting five different receivers with touchdown passes through the first two quarters, EMCC’s Wallace finished the first half throwing for an eye-popping 506 yards and six touchdowns on 24-of-31 passing. The former Arkansas State redshirt opened the second half hitting his first three passes for 27 more yards, capped by a 6-yard scoring toss to Glover, before giving way to Conner, EMCC’s backup signal-caller, the rest of the game.
Statistically on the day, the Lions had four different receivers eclipse the century mark in yardage through the air. Harbin, of Meridian, led the way with seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Bester, a Kemper County product, with 101 yards and a pair of scores on five receptions. Glover and Adkins each added four grabs for 105 and 100 receiving yards, respectively.
After their first three games of the year were decided by a collective total of only 10 points, including narrow wins over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast (34-30) and then-No. 4 Northwest Mississippi (45-42), the Lions have now outscored their last three opponents by a composite score of 167-48. In the team’s recent home routs of Itawamba (48-7) and Coahoma (56-6), EMCC held sizeable halftime leads of 38-0 and 35-0, respectively.
Off to the program’s first 6-0 start since 1964, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions are now 30-8 overall and 20-2 in division play dating back to the 2008 season. East Mississippi remains unbeaten (11-0) in MACJC North Division road action over the past four years.
The EMCC Lions step out of division play for the final time this regular season by heading to Poplarville to meet the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College next Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15). EMCC then returns to the Scooba campus to welcome Mississippi Delta on Saturday, Oct. 22, as part of the Lions’ homecoming weekend.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 October 2011 )|
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