No. 14 EMCC Lions bid for football playoff berth in regular-season finale at Mississippi Delta

Published 4:21 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

SCOOBA – With a possible conference playoff appearance on the line, the 14th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will conclude their regular-season slate by traveling to Moorhead to take on the Mississippi Delta Trojans during Thursday’s MACCC North Division gridiron action. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Jim Randall Stadium on the MDCC campus.

With an EMCC road victory over Delta on Thursday, coupled with a home win by third-ranked Northwest Mississippi over Northeast Mississippi, the Lions would secure their 13th conference playoff appearance (MACCC/MACJC) since 15th-year head football coach Buddy Stephens took over the program prior to the 2008 season. Under Stephens’ direction, the Lions own a 14-5 composite conference playoff record with seven championships (2009, ’11, ’13-14, ’16-18) and five semifinal-round finishes (2008, ’10, ’12, ’19 & ’21).

The EMCC Lions enter Thursday’s regular-season finale with a 5-3 overall record and 3-2 division mark after bouncing back from their 31-21 road setback to Northeast two weeks ago with this past Saturday’s 38-10 Homecoming triumph over Itawamba in Scooba. Also in division play this year, EMCC has knocked off Holmes (45-9) and Coahoma (24-16), while having dropped a 38-21 home decision to the two-time reigning conference champion Northwest Rangers. Against MACCC South competition this season, the Lions shut out Copiah-Lincoln (38-0) to open the season before falling at current fourth-ranked Jones College (42-28) and then posting a thrilling 48-45 comeback road victory over Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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Statistically as a team on the year, East Mississippi ranks 12th among NJCAA Division I teams in scoring offense with an average of 32.9 points per game. The Lions also stand fourth nationally in passing yards per game (270.1 yds/gm) and eighth in total offense (389.8 yds/gm). Defensively among NJCAA Division I team statistical leaders, EMCC is tied for seventh with 12 pass interceptions.

Individually for the Lions, freshman quarterback Eli Anderson has slipped just under the 70-percent mark in pass completion percentage (69.5%) and is now ranked second nationally. The two-time NJCAA and MACCC Offensive Player of the Week also ranks fifth among NJCAA Division I signal-callers in passing yards per game (218.9 yds/gm) and is tied for sixth with 13 touchdown passes.

Also on offense for EMCC, sophomore receiver Duke Miller is tied for fourth nationally with 46 receptions. He leads a group of nine Lion players with double-digit catches on the season. Josh Aka is next with 32 grabs, followed by Kobe Chambers and Carl Robinson with 27 and 26 receptions, respectively.

Additionally for the Lions, sophomore linebacker Steven Cattledge Jr. ranks second among NJCAA Division I defensive players and among specialists, EMCC freshman kicker/punter Cole Arthur sits fourth in punting.

in punting with an average of 41.1 yards per punt while also ranking 11th among kickers with 43 points scored on four made field goals and 31 successful point-after-touchdown kicks.    

Guided by first-year head football coach Tavares Johnson, the Mississippi Delta Trojans are winless (0-8) on the season after most recently dropping a 31-10 home decision to No. 4 Jones College last week in Moorhead.

EMCC’s Stephens owns a 13-0 career head coaching mark against Mississippi Delta (7-0 in Moorhead & 6-0 in Scooba) since arriving on the Scooba campus in December 2007. The Lions’ most recent pair of victories over the Trojans have both come at Jim Randall Stadium in Moorhead (56-3 last year & 41-23 in 2019). 

Thursday’s EMCC-MDCC contest will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Patrick Thomas slated to provide the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively. 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, an alternate audio stream of Thursday’s radio broadcast will also be available at