Year-In-Review: Thrilling plays common throughout 2020-21 school year
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of a two-part series that highlights some of the great moments and individual plays from the 2020-21 athletic season at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Accompanying video of the top five plays is available on Northeast’s official YouTube channel (search for Northeast Tigers).
BOONEVILLE, Miss. – Northeast Mississippi Community College student-athletes once again treated their fans to several highlight reel moments despite competing in fewer games due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020-21 academic year was filled with the usual jaw dropping dunks, diving catches, thrilling touchdowns, challenging shots and walk off victories that Tiger fans have grown accustomed to seeing each season.
The following are five of the top plays from Northeast’s seven intercollegiate athletic programs during its 72nd year of competition inside the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
#1 Trick Play Touchdown Extends Tigers’ Lead in Rivalry Game
The Tigers never trailed during their annual meeting with Itawamba Community College on the gridiron. Northeast scored the first 17 points of the contest before dipping into its bag of tricks just before the halftime break.
Quarterback Kevin Hurley (Walnut) handed off to running back Shawn Dalton Weatherbee (Booneville), who tossed the ball backwards to wide receiver Cam Coleman (St. Louis, Mo.). Coleman then found a wide-open Dallas Payne (Bay St. Louis) in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
The reverse play, which happened moments after an interception by Keyshawn Cobb (Fort Valley, Ga.) extended Northeast’s advantage to 24-7. The Tigers wrapped up a 5-1 regular season record with a 31-21 decision over Itawamba for their first win in Fulton since 2004.
#2 Cook’s Buzzer Beater Caps Thrilling Victory Over EMCC
Northeast and East Mississippi Community College’s men’s basketball programs have competed in several close games over the last six seasons. The first meeting between these two teams this year was certainly no exception to that rule.
The Tigers had possession out of a timeout on the opposite side of the floor from their basket with six seconds remaining in a tied matchup. The inbounds pass went from Kylan Blackmon (Oxford) to Jacob Tracey (Fort Myers, Fla.), who had it tipped away near midcourt by the Lions.
Tracey hustled to regain the ball and tossed it forward to Zeke Cook (Starkville), whose underhanded shot from inside the lane got off just before the horn sounded and fell into the hoop to lift Northeast to a 70-68 triumph in Scooba. Cook had 12 points and nine rebounds to pace the Tigers.
#3 Wilder Drains Lengthy Eagle Shot During Conference Opener
Northeast captured three tournament championships throughout its historic golf campaign. The first title came in their own backyard with an 18-shot cushion over runner-up Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at Shiloh Ridge Athletic Club in late September.
Carson Wilder (Corinth) helped the Tigers pull off the win in his hometown. He carded identical rounds of 71 to claim fourth place in the individual standings and earn a spot on the all-tournament team along with teammate Jake Kilcrease (Brantley, Ala.).
Wilder bolstered his final round with one of only two eagles made in the entire event. His second shot from around 150 yards out on the par-4 No. 3 landed on the edge of the green and rolled right into the cup.
#4 Weatherbee Stretches Out for Diving Catch vs. Co-Lin
Weatherbee moved over to the baseball diamond in the spring and etched his name into Northeast’s history books by tying Tucker Childers’ modern-day program record for most home runs in a single season with 13. Eight of those homers were hit in the last nine games.
However, Weatherbee was just as stellar with his glove. He made several spectacular catches, including a leaping grab in centerfield for the first out of the fourth inning during the Tigers’ victory over Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Weatherbee finished with a fielding percentage of .972, which was second best among Northeast’s primary outfielders. He led the Tigers with a .382 batting average, .517 on-base percentage, 41 RBIs and 38 runs scored.
#5 Rice Starts Freshman Season on Dunk Spree
Jalin Rice (Madison) made a loud impact during the first two-plus weeks of his collegiate basketball career. He posted 15 points per game and wowed the crowds with multiple dunks over the course of five consecutive Northeast wins.
One of those slams came on the possession before Cook’s heroics at East Mississippi. Rice easily raced past his defender near the top of the key and threw down an acrobatic one-hand jam to temporarily break a 66-all tie with just 17 seconds remaining in the contest.
Rice also had a similar rim rattler at Mississippi Delta Community College. He got the ball in front of the visiting bench, dribbled down the middle of the lane and leapt around an airborne Trojan to complete a right-handed dunk that put an exclamation mark on the Tigers’ victory.