MACCC Champion EMCC Lions earn 20 selections to 2022 All-MACCC Football Team

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2022

JACKSON – On the heels of capturing their eighth conference football championship in the last 14 years, the eighth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College have placed 20 recipients on the 2022 All-MACCC Football Team. The league’s first-team, second-team and honorable mention selections were announced Tuesday by the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference office.

EMCC’s 20 All-MACCC North Division selections were tied (with Mississippi Gulf Coast) for the second most of any MACCC team this season behind second-ranked Northwest Mississippi’s league-high 22 honorees. The Lions’ recipients were divided up between five first-teamers, seven second-teamers and eight honorable mentions. Coach Buddy Stephens’ awardees were also split up among seven offensive players, 10 defensive players and three specialists.

East Mississippi’s first-team recipients were offensive lineman Tre’Darious Griffin (Lambert/Madison S. Palmer HS), freshman kicker/punter Cole Arthur (Rosebud/Leake Academy), and the defensive trio of lineman Elijah Davis (Wagener, SC), linebacker Steven Cattledge Jr. (Columbus) and safety Jamori Evans (Pheba/Starkville HS). Arthur also earned honorable mention punting honors in addition to his first-team kicking accolades.

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Cattledge, who capped his EMCC career by collecting back-to-back MACCC Defensive Player of the Week honors following conference playoff road wins over Gulf Coast and Northwest, currently leads the NJCAA Division I with 120 total tackles on the year. He is also currently ranked third nationally with 21 tackles for loss (-77 yards) and eighth with 10 quarterback sacks (-54 yards).

Evans finished as the Lions’ second-leading tackler in 2022 with 85 total stops, including 4.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards), along with totaling two pass interceptions (for 90 yards), two forced fumbles and five pass breakups.

Davis, a highly-touted defensive tackle, helped anchor EMCC’s solid defensive line and was credited with 35 total tackles this past year, including 3.5 tackles for loss (-19 yards).

Arthur currently ranks fifth among NJCAA Division I kickers with 72 points scored on 48-of-50 PAT attempts and 8-of-11 field goal tries.

EMCC’s collection of seven second-team recipients is led by three-time MACCC Offensive Player of the Week and two-time NJCAA honoree Eli Anderson. A freshman out of Neshoba Central High School, Anderson presently ranks second nationally in pass completion percentage (223-of-324 for 68.8%) and third with an average of 222.8 passing yards per game. He is also tied for eighth with 15 passing touchdowns.

The Lions’ top two leading receivers – sophomores Duke Miller (Taylorsville) and Josh Aka (Starkville) – also earned second-team honors. Miller is currently ranked second in NJCAA Division I football with 57 receptions and team-high totals of 622 receiving yards and six touchdown grabs, while Aka had 41 catches on the year for 326 receiving yards and two scores.

Mike McGowan (Petal), who headed up EMCC’s three-pronged rushing attack with a team-leading 548 rushing yards on 98 attempts after transferring from MGCCC, rounded out the Lions’ quartet of second-team, all-league offensive performers.

Defensively, the 8-3 Lions were represented on this year’s All-MACCC North Division Second Team by cornerback Laurence Sullivan Jr. (Vicksburg) along with defensive linemen Devonyal Lofton (Forest) and Kason Boston (Birmingham, AL). Lofton is EMCC’s lone repeat all-conference performer from a year ago, having earned first-team honors as a freshman. He and Boston combined for 11 tackles for loss (-62 yards) between them this past season, including seven QB sacks (-54 yards).

Sullivan ranked as the Lions’ fourth-leading tackler in 2022 with 55 total stops. He was also second on the team with four pass interceptions for a total of 138 return yards, including a 58-yard pick-six and other returns of 51 and 29 yards.

Five of East Mississippi’s eight honorable mention recipients were bounce-back transfers, including team interception leader Reggie Neely (Tulane/Memphis, TN), No. 3 tackler Rodney Groce Jr. (Mississippi State/Arizona State/Birmingham, AL), and defensive lineman Kabbash Richard (Eastern Kentucky/Lansing, MI) on defense. Neely had a team-high five interceptions and was second with eight pass breakups, while Groce recorded 71 total tackles along with 6.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. Richard came on late in the season and finished with 20 total stops, 4.5 TFLs (-21 yards) and two forced fumbles.

On the offensive side of the ball, former SEC players Kadarius Calloway (Alabama/Philadelphia HS) and Marc Britt II (Ole Miss/Carol City, FL) also garnered honorable mention status for the Lions. In addition to ranking as the Lions’ second-leading rusher with 462 yards and two touchdowns on 75 carries for the year, Calloway’s honorable mention league honor came after averaging an NJCAA-best 34.6 yards on 14 kickoff returns, including an 89-yard touchdown against Northeast. Britt ranked second on the team with five touchdown receptions and was fifth with 19 catches overall.

Rounding out East Mississippi’s 20 selections for 2022 All-MACCC North recognition were honorable mention picks Seth Russo (Bay St. Louis/Bay HS) at offensive lineman and Keyshawn Lawrence (Starkville) at linebacker.