|EMCC's Denico Autry collects NJCAA defensive honor; No. 3 Lions to meet Hinds in playoff opener|
This time, EMCC sophomore defensive end Denico Autry has been tabbed as the NJCAA’s Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in last Thursday’s 56-35 road win over Holmes Community College.SCOOBA – For the fourth time during the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season, a member of East Mississippi Community College’s third-ranked football team has collected NJCAA Player of the Week honors.
In the Lions’ final regular-season tune-up prior to the start of the MACJC state football playoffs, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound Autry was credited with 11 total tackles (9 solos & 2 assists), including four sacks for 26 yards and another tackle for loss, against Holmes. The Albemarle, N.C., native also had five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one pass breakup this past week.
Currently rated as the nation’s No. 3 junior college prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, Autry joins previously selected NJCAA Player of the Week honorees Bo Wallace and Rodney Davis for East Mississippi this season. Wallace, the nation’s top-ranked quarterback statistically, garnered NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week mentions following the Lions’ 34-30 season-opening win over Mississippi Gulf Coast as well as after the team’s convincing 63-35 road triumph over Northeast Mississippi a month ago. Davis, from Millbrook, Ala., claimed NJCAA Special Teams Player of the Week plaudits on the heels of EMCC’s 45-42 victory at Northwest Mississippi during Week 3.
Tied with division foe Northwest Mississippi for the national lead with four NJCAA Player of the Week selections on the year, East Mississippi rates as the lone school nationally this season to have had at least one POTW honoree in each of the three different categories – offense, defense and special teams. As a collective group in 2011, the 14-member Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) by far claims the most NJCAA Player of the Week recipients nationally with a total 11 weekly honors during the nine-week regular season.
Ranked third nationally – behind top-ranked Blinn College (Texas) and No. 2 Arizona Western College - for the fifth straight week in the NJCAA Top 20 football poll, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 9-0 EMCC Lions are set to make their fourth consecutive state playoff appearance Saturday afternoon against the 14th-ranked Eagles of Hinds Community College. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC’s New Sullivan-Windham Field.
Guided by veteran head coach/athletic director and EMCC alumnus Gene Murphy, Hinds is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in division play after dropping a 35-26 decision at Gulf Coast in last Saturday’s battle of the top two teams in the MACJC’s South Division.
East Mississippi has also worked its way up to No. 3 nationally – behind AWC and City College of San Francisco – in the JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Junior College Team Rankings, which also include California-based schools as well as NJCAA-member programs.
Saturday’s other MACJC state playoff matchup will pit 17th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (6-3, 4-2 MACJC North) traveling to Perkinston to take on No. 6 and defending state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast (8-1, 6-0 MACJC South). The winners of Saturday’s pair of playoff contests will vie for this year’s MACJC state football championship the following Saturday (Nov. 12) at a site to be determined based on this weekend’s results.
During the second week of this year’s regular season, the EMCC Lions avenged last year’s 50-42 home loss to Hinds by earning a 20-17 road triumph over the Eagles. In that earlier contest (Sept. 8) in Raymond, the visitors out-gained Hinds, 530-243, in total yards, including 294 passing yards by Wallace and 202 rushing yards by freshman running back Rodriguez Moore.
For the year, Autry continues to lead all EMCC defenders with 66 total tackles (42 solos & 24 assists), including eight sacks for 56 yards and 10 other tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 33 yards. The NJCAA All-America candidate has also been credited with 37 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups on the season.
Offensively, Wallace remains the NJCAA’s statistical leader in passing yards and total offense with per-game averages of 376.4 and 390.4 yards, respectively, during the regular season. The former Arkansas State redshirt also stands second nationally with 35 touchdown passes, in addition to having completed 67 percent (240-of-356) of his passes for 3,388 yards on the year.
Wallace has had the luxury of throwing to four sophomore starting wide receivers that have each caught 36 or more passes and combined for 29 touchdown receptions this season. Leading the way is Lacoltan Bester, of Kemper County, who is tied for sixth nationally with 51 receptions for 773 yards and 11 touchdowns.
On the ground, EMCC’s Moore is 12 yards shy of becoming the Lions’ first 1,000-yard rusher since current Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout LeGarrette Blount. Moore, from Bastrop, La., presently ranks as the NJCAA’s sixth-leading rusher with an average of 109.8 rushing yards per game on the heels of last week’s season-best, 214-yard performance at Holmes.
Saturday’s EMCC-Hinds state playoff contest will be broadcast live on WFCA-FM Radio, 107.9 out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard calling the play-by-play action along with John Lyle Briggs handling the sideline reporting duties. The live video-streamed broadcast will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-football and can be accessed through EMCC’s athletics website - http://athletics.eastms.edu. An alternate audio stream of the radio broadcast will also be available by logging onto www.wfcafm108.com.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 November 2011 )|
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