|No. 3 EMCC Lions clinch division title with 54-0 homecoming shutout win over Mississippi Delta|
SCOOBA – The third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College clinched their third MACJC North Division regular-season football championship in four years by claiming a 54-0 homecoming victory over the winless Trojans of Mississippi Delta Community College Saturday afternoon at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
Now 32-8 overall and 21-2 in division play under fourth-year head coach Buddy Stephens, the EMCC Lions previously captured back-to-back division crowns in 2008 and 2009. Solidifying a fourth straight state playoff appearance, East Mississippi also secures a first-round hosting opportunity against the MACJC South Division’s second-seeded team in the upcoming state football playoffs. The state semifinals take place Saturday, Nov. 5, at the sites of the respective divisional champions, while the state championship contest will be played the following Saturday, Nov. 12.
With Saturday’s shutout victory over Delta – EMCC’s first shutout win since a 49-0 road triumph over Northeast Mississippi in Stephens’ first season (2008) at the Lions’ helm – this year’s squad matches the 8-0 start that the legendary head coach Bob “Bull” Sullivan’s 1964 East Mississippi club put together en route to a 9-2 campaign. Following a short week of preparation, the Lions will bid for the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season by taking on Holmes Community College Thursday evening (Oct. 27) in Goodman.
In Saturday’s contrasting matchup of the best and worst offenses among the state’s junior college ranks, the home-standing EMCC Lions got things rolling early with four first-quarter touchdowns to jump out front 27-0. On the heels of Rodriguez Moore’s 24-yard touchdown run at the 13:20 mark, EMCC freshman quarterback Bo Wallace later connected with three different wide receivers on scoring pass plays during the opening period.
Following Delta’s first empty possession of the day, EMCC took over near midfield and Wallace needed just two plays to reach pay dirt for the second time in less than three minutes. After Wallace hit Moore with a 15-yard gain, the NJCAA All-American candidate found sophomore receiver Lacoltan Bester, of Kemper County, down the left sideline, who then spun inside around a defender to finish off a 37-yard scoring play with 10:47 left in the quarter.
Wallace, who finished the contest with 25-of-37 passing for 279 yards and four touchdowns through the air, then connected with sophomore receivers Rodney Davis and Jeremy Reed on touchdown tosses of 38 and 34 yards, respectively, to put EMCC in front 27-0 by the conclusion of the opening period.
The best scoring opportunity for the Trojans, who entered the contest having scored a total of just 44 points on the season, came midway through the first half when MDCC quarterback Jeremy Collins hit receiver Raheem Sanders down the left sideline for a 60-yard pass play to the Lions’ 22-yard line. However, EMCC’s defensive unit, which allowed just four first downs on the afternoon, held tight, as freshman linebacker D.J. Jordan, of Starkville, tracked down running back Chris Bolton behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth-and-two effort inside the red zone.
The Lions, who entered the game averaging nearly 44 points an outing on the year, went into the locker room with a 33-0 advantage on Wallace’s 3-yard keeper with 2:22 left until halftime. The scoring run marked Wallace’s first rushing score since scoring twice via the run in EMCC’s season-opening 34-30 home triumph over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Following intermission, Wallace accounted for his fifth touchdown of the day by hitting sophomore receiver Hamp Glover, of Meridian, with a 5-yard aerial over the middle to extend the margin to 40-0 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter. Wallace, who was redshirted a year ago at Arkansas State University, now has 32 touchdown passes on the season and is approaching the 3,000-yard passing mark.
With Mississippi Delta unable to move the ball past midfield during the second half of play, the Lions rang up two more scores in the fourth quarter on running back Xavier Hogan’s 19-yard touchdown run up the middle at the 12:00 mark and defensive back Amos Tatum’s 60-yard interception return with 1:55 left in the contest.
Saturday’s 54-point performance marked EMCC’s third 50-point effort of the year (63 at Northeast Mississippi and 56 vs. Coahoma) and the fifth time the Lions have eclipsed the 50-point mark during Stephens’ four years at the East Mississippi helm.
Statistically on the day, Moore, from Bastrop, La., registered his third 100-yard rushing effort of the year with 102 yards on a dozen carries. Through the air, Bester had five grabs for 81 yards, including his team-leading ninth touchdown reception of the year, while sophomore JJ Harbin, of Meridian, also had five catches for 37 yards.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 October 2011 )|
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