No. 7 EMCC Lions back on the road to face Northeast in MACCC North gridiron battle
Published 2:48 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022
SCOOBA – Entering the final third of the regular-season football slate, the seventh-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will continue MACCC North Division action by traveling to Booneville to take on the Northeast Mississippi Tigers on Thursday evening. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
The EMCC Lions are 4-2 overall and 2-1 in MACCC North play after rebounding from a 38-21 home setback to now-No. 3 Northwest Mississippi two weeks ago with last week’s 24-16 home victory over the Coahoma Tigers. The Lions also own victories this season over Copiah-Lincoln (38-0), Holmes (45-9) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (48-45), while their first loss of the season came during Week 2 at now-No. 4 Jones College (42-28).
The Greg Davis-coached Northeast Mississippi Tigers are 3-3 overall on the year and 1-2 in the MACCC North Division. The Tigers’ three losses this season – 20-13 vs. Pearl River, 28-27 in OT at Itawamba and 34-31 vs. Holmes in Madison – have been by a combined total of just 11 points. Northeast’s three wins have come against Hinds (20-3), Mississippi Delta (31-0) and last week against East Central (34-20).
Statistically as a team through six games, East Mississippi ranks second among NJCAA Division I teams in passing offense by averaging 291.5 yards per game through the air. The Lions also stand ninth nationally in both scoring offense and total offense with per-game averages of 34.0 points and 406.5 yards, respectively.
Individually among the national statistical leaders, EMCC freshman quarterback Eli Anderson continues to top all NJCAA Division I signal-callers in pass completion percentage (73.3%). The two-time NJCAA and MACCC Offensive Player of the Week also ranks second nationally with an average of 244.2 passing yards per game and is tied for fifth with 11 touchdown throws on the season.
For the season, the Lions feature 11 players with seven or more receptions, including eight with double-digit catches on the year. Duke Miller is tied for seventh nationally with a team-leading 33 receptions, followed by fellow sophomores Josh Aka and Carl Robinson with 23 and 22 grabs, respectively.
On the ground for EMCC, Mike McGowan leads the way with 231 rushing yards on 41 attempts for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Fellow sophomores Amariyon Howard and Kadarius Calloway are next with 179 and 171 rushing yards, respectively, for the Lions.
Defensively for East Mississippi, linebacker Steven Cattledge Jr. ranks third nationally with 66 total tackles for the season. In addition, six different EMCC defenders have combined to pick off nine opponent passes this year as Laurence Sullivan Jr., Jamori Evans and Reggie Neely are tied for top team honors with two pass interceptions apiece.
Leading the way on special teams for the Lions is freshman kicker/punter Cole Arthur, who ranks third in NJCAA Division I in punting average (42.5 yds/punt) and is tied for 11th nationally in scoring among kickers with 32 points on the season.
EMCC’s 15th-year head football coach Buddy Stephens owns a 12-1 career record against the Northeast Mississippi Tigers (6-1 in Scooba & 6-0 in Booneville). Most recently, the Lions claimed Homecoming victories over Northeast in Scooba last season (34-19) and in 2019 (30-22). Prior to that in Booneville, EMCC earned road wins over the Tigers during consecutive years on the way to winning back-to-back national championships in 2017 (59-0) and 2018 (26-7). Northeast’s lone win over EMCC in the series dating back to the 2008 season came in 2010 (49-42) during the Lions’ final season at the previous site of Sullivan-Windham Field in Scooba.
Thursday’s EMCC-Northeast contest will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Eddie Hammond 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, EMCC’s weekly live video streamed football broadcasts will be available in HD at emcclive.com. Alternate audio streams of the radio broadcasts are also available at wfca.fm.