Former Picayune football standout playing for back-to-back national championships on Sunday

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2014

PICAYUNE PRODUCT: Starting center for the defending national champion EMCC Lions Jacob Feeley prepares to snap the ball. Submitted photo.

MAROON TIDE PRODUCT: Picayune native Jacob Feeley, the starting center for the defending national champion EMCC Lions, prepares to snap the ball.
Submitted photo.

When the East Mississippi Community College Lions take the field Sunday against Iowa Western Community College, they will be playing for their second straight NJCAA football championship. Their offensive line will be anchored by starting center and former Picayune standout Jacob Feeley, who won a state championship with the Maroon Tide his junior year of high school.

Feeley’s senior year at Picayune ended with a loss to Pascagoula in the second round of the playoffs. That game was played on Nov. 16, 2012, and it was the last time he was on the losing side of a football game. The Lions are currently riding a 23-game winning streak, and a victory in Biloxi on Sunday would cement an undefeated career and back-to-back national championships at EMCC for Feeley.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity,” said Feeley, “I couldn’t think of a better team to do it with. We’re like a family here.”

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EMCC has been dominant all season. During a five game stretch from Sept. 25 to Oct. 23, the Lions scored a total of 269 points while holding their opponents scoreless.  Their smallest margin of victory this season occurred in the semifinals of the state playoffs, when they defeated Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 42-21. On the season, their defense is only allowing 6.7 points per game, and Feeley is the starting center for an offense that averages 55.5 points a game.

When asked how his experience at Picayune helped prepare him for success at the next level, Feeley mentioned his high school coaches.

“The coaches at Picayune push you,” said Feeley, “It takes heart and toughness to make it through that program for four years.”

“If you can play at Picayune, you can play anywhere,” said Feeley.

Feeley added that playing the national championship game so close to home means a lot to him and said it was great to be back on the coast.  While four-year schools such as Troy and Utah State have been in contact with him, Feeley said he is just trying to focus on Sunday night’s game and will worry about the rest later.

Feeley has been impressive on and off the field at EMCC. Despite his football responsibilities, he has maintained a 3.98 GPA.

“Academics were a priority for Jacob when he first visited campus,” said EMCC academic counselor Brittany Wagner, “He has taken some tough classes and done very well in them.”

Feeley and the Lions will try to finish their remarkable two-year run with a second consecutive national championship on Sunday afternoon.

The NJCAA National Championship game, sponsored by Paw Paw’s Campers and Cars in Picayune, will kickoff at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7 at Biloxi Indian Stadium.