No. 9 EMCC Lions set to open division play against Holmes at Ridgeland High School

Published 2:01 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

SCOOBA – The ninth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will look to bounce back during Thursday’s MACCC North Division opener by taking on the Holmes Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Ridgeland High School.

Thursday’s EMCC-Holmes contest will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard slated to provide the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively. Chris Coleman is set to do the sideline reporting. The game’s live-streamed audio will also be carried by SuperTalk Mississippi (WZKR-FM 103.3), out of Meridian, as well as through EMCC’s campus radio station, WGTC-FM (92.7), originating from the Golden Triangle campus in Mayhew. In addition, EMCC’s weekly live video streamed football broadcasts will be available in HD at Alternate audio streams of the radio broadcasts are also available at

The EMCC Lions are 1-1 on the young season after following up a 38-0 home shutout win over Copiah-Lincoln with last Thursday’s 42-28 road setback to the now-No. 6 Jones College Bobcats. Last week’s loss in Ellisville marked just the 14th regular-season defeat that EMCC has incurred during the 14 seasons of competition under the direction of head coach Buddy Stephens.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

With Memphis transfer Peter Parrish and freshman Eli Anderson sharing quarterbacking duties and both connecting on 67 percent or better of their passes through the first two games, EMCC is averaging 210.5 passing yards and 128 rushing yards per game as a team on the young season. Through the air, the Lions have had 10 different receivers catch at least one pass thus far, led by sophomore Duke Miller’s 13 receptions on the year after last week’s 10-catch effort (for 93 yards) at Jones. Fellow sophomores Carl Robinson and Josh Aka also have double-digit grabs with 11 and 10, respectively.

On the ground this year, EMCC has five players with 34 or more rushing yards through the first two games. Former Alabama signee and two-way Philadelphia High School standout Kadarius Calloway and Starkville’s Amariyon Howard lead the way for the Lions with 64 and 60 rushing yards, respectively. Howard currently ranks tied for fourth in NJCAA Division I football with four rushing touchdowns – two in each of the first two games.

Defensively as a team, EMCC has been credited with 15 tackles for loss on the year, including six quarterback sacks. The Lions have also picked off four passes this season, highlighted by three picks in their season-opening win over Co-Lin.

On special teams, freshman kicker/punter Cole Arthur, out of Leake Academy, enters the week leading NJCAA Division I football with a 45.7 yards-per-punt average and has scored a dozen total points on 9-of-9 extra points and 1-of-2 field goals for the season.

Guided by first-year head football coach Marcus Wood, who played football at EMCC as well as having previously served as an assistant football coach and college administrator on the Scooba campus, Holmes is also 1-1 on the season. The Bulldogs rebounded from their 49-24 season-opening road loss to now-No. 14 Pearl River by posting a 41-37 road win over East Central last week in Decatur.

Wood’s Holmes coaching staff also has some East Mississippi connections. Defensive coordinator William Jones previously served in the same role on Buddy Stephens’ EMCC coaching staff, while current Holmes quarterbacks coach Bo Wallace, wide receivers coach Damion Willis and defensive line coach Marcel Andry all played for the Lions.

EMCC’s Stephens owns a 12-1 career record (7-0 in Scooba & 5-1 in Goodman) as head coach against Holmes. A year ago in Scooba (Sept. 23, 2021), the home-standing Lions used a 35-point second quarter to power their way to a solid 49-7 home victory over Holmes. EMCC’s lone setback to Holmes during the Stephens era was three years ago (Oct. 10, 2019) in Goodman when the Bulldogs outscored the visiting Lions, 49-42, at Ras Branch Field. In that offensive slugfest, the two teams combined for 1,014 yards of total offense (520-494 in favor of EMCC), 91 total points, and 49 total first downs (EMCC with slight 25-24 edge). In a contrast of offensive styles when Holmes previously utilized its famed triple option attack, the Bulldogs piled up 429 net rushing yards and six scores on 58 attempts, while the Connor Neville-led Lions had 429 passing yards and three touchdowns on 38-of-49 accuracy through the air.

Thursday’s EMCC-Holmes contest at Ridgeland High School marks the second time that a Stephens-coached East Mississippi football team will compete at a neutral site during regular-season play. During Stephens’ first season at the EMCC helm, the Lions claimed a 40-34 division win over Itawamba at West Point High School on Oct. 18, 2008.