|Third-ranked East Mississippi Lions move to 7-0 with 41-17 non-division victory at Pearl River|
POPLARVILLE – Three unanswered second-quarter touchdowns helped propel the visiting third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College to a 41-17 non-division MACJC football victory over the Pearl River Wildcats Saturday afternoon at Dobie Holden Stadium.
EMCC took the early advantage midway through the opening quarter when freshman Antoinne Adkins scored on a 16-yard keeper at the 8:03 mark. However, placekicker Taylor Walker misfired on his first point-after-touchdown of the year after booting through 35 straight PATs this season heading into the contest.
The Wildcats answered on their next possession, as quarterback Melvin German connected with Jonathan Duncan for a 10-yard scoring pass on a fourth-and-two play three minutes later. Caleb Kergosein’s successful PAT put Pearl River on top 7-6 with 5:03 left in the opening period. The game’s early deficit marked only the second contest of the year (Northwest Mississippi was the other) in which EMCC had trailed.
The Lions’ game-changing second quarter was initially fueled by linebacker Michael Pack’s first of two interceptions on the day by the Meridian native. His first pick came during the final minute of the first quarter and preceded EMCC’s eight-play drive that covered 70 yards and ended with a 14-yard scoring pass from All-America quarterback candidate Bo Wallace to JJ Harbin. Walker’s PAT put the visitors on top for good, 13-7, early in the second quarter.
Pearl River appeared to be headed toward another score on its next possession, but the Wildcats’ ensuing drive stalled on the 12-yard line. EMCC’s special teams unit then stepped up when defensive back Jeremy Cannon tipped Kergosein’s 30-yard field-goal attempt.
The Lions used the momentum gained by the defensive effort to strike quickly. Consecutive completions from Wallace to sophomore wide receiver Lacoltan Bester were followed by a 39-yard burst by freshman running back Rodriguez Moore down the left sideline. On the fifth play of the 80-yard drive, Wallace hit Rodney Davis over the middle, and the sophomore wide receiver fought for the final couple of yards to finish off the 12-yard scoring pass play. Walker’s accurate PAT increased the Lions’ lead to 20-7 with 9:32 left until halftime.
As the Wildcats again attempted to answer EMCC’s quick-strike ability by mounting an ensuing drive, it was the Lions’ stopper unit that came up big once again. With Pearl River driving toward the red zone, German hooked up with receiver Seth Roberts for a 20-yard pass play to EMCC’s 20-yard line. However, Roberts was stripped of the ball on the tackle and the Lions recovered the fumble.
The visitors cashed in on the PRCC turnover by again marching 80 yards, aided by two Pearl River penalties, in 10 plays to extend their lead to 27-7 by the 4:42 mark. Following a defensive pass interference penalty on the Wildcats, Wallace stepped away from the pocket and found Davis in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard scoring strike.
Receiving the ball to open the second half of play, the Lions went 51 yards on six plays to score their fourth straight unanswered touchdown after trailing 7-6 in the opening quarter. Wallace’s 32-yard scramble up the middle was immediately followed by Adkins’ 3-yard scoring scamper around the left edge to extend EMCC’s lead to 34-7 with 12:40 remaining in the third quarter.
A lengthy Pearl River drive midway through the period that resulted in a 2-yard scoring toss from German to Roberts was answered by Wallace’s fourth touchdown pass of the game and 28th of the season – an 11-yard connection with Bester – coming at the 1:11 mark of the third quarter. Bester’s team-leading eighth touchdown grab of the year came one play after freshman Shaquille Fluker returned an errant German pass 63 yards – his second pass interception of the year - to the 11-yard line.
EMCC’s defenders remained sharp late in the contest with German and the Wildcats staying with the passing game. Pack followed shortly thereafter with his second interception of the game and third of the season to tie him with safety Justin Cox for the team lead. Early in the final quarter, EMCC freshman cornerback Jason Yarbor picked off his second pass interception of the year to give the Lions four picks on the afternoon.
The Wildcats, now 4-3 overall on the year, posted the game’s final tally on Pacer Frierson’s 30-yard field goal with 4:55 remaining in the contest.
Following back-to-back road wins in homecoming contests against Pearl River and last week versus Northeast Mississippi, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 7-0 EMCC Lions will entertain Mississippi Delta during their own homecoming festivities Saturday afternoon (Oct. 22) on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for the MACJC North Division contest at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field is set for 2 p.m.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 October 2011 )|
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