#8 EMCC Lions travel to Mississippi Gulf Coast for NJCAA Game of the Week on ESPN+
Published 11:21 Thursday, September 22, 2022
SCOOBA – The eighth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College look to wrap up a three-game stretch away from home and close out their inter-division slate by traveling to Perkinston on Thursday to take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Kickoff at historic AL May Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m., and ESPN+ will air the contest as the NJCAA Game of the Week.
Thursday’s EMCC Gulf Coast contest will also be broadcast live on WFCA-FM (107.9) from the French camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Bird providing color commentary, respectively. Live audio of the game will also be carried by SuperTalk Mississippi (WZKR-FM 103.3) from Meridian, as well as by EMCC’s campus radio station, WGTC-FM (92.7), originating from the Golden Triangle campus in Mayhew. Additionally, Thursday’s EMCC audio broadcast will be available online at emcclive.com and wfca.fm.
Moving up a notch to No. 8 this week in the NJCAA Division I rankings, head coach Buddy Stevens’ EMCC Lions are 2-1 coming off last week’s 45-9 Division I victory over Holmes in a game played at Ridgeland High School. East Mississippi opened the season with a 38-0 home win over Copiah-Lincoln (Sept. 1) before dropping a 42-28 road decision the following week. 5 Jones College.
Under fifth-year head coach Jack Wright, Mississippi Gulf Coast is also 2-1 overall on the year after posting a 45-7 home win over Southwest Mississippi a week ago in the team’s division opener. After receiving votes this week in the NJCAA poll, the Bulldogs opened the season by bouncing back from a narrow 28-24 road loss against fourth-ranked Northwest Mississippi for a 37-13 victory the following week in Itawamba.
In addition to their respective 2-1 overall and 1-0 divisional records, EMCC and Gulf Coast will enter Thursday’s contest also fairly evenly matched in offense under their respective freshman defensemen. EMCC’s defensive tandem of Eli Anderson (73%) and Memphis transfer Peter Parrish (70%) is currently 1-2 among the NJCAA Division I statistical leaders in pass completion percentage, and the Lions rank third nationally with a .255 average. 3 yards passing per game. The Bulldogs, led by freshman Pat McQuaid, are right behind with 251.7 passing yards per contest to rank fifth. On the field, both teams aren’t as highly ranked nationally, but are comparable with a 144.7 per game average (EMCC-19).thousand) and 132.7 (MGCCC-21St) rushing yards, respectively.
EMCC’s Anderson was named the NJCAA Division I and MACCC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Holmes last Thursday in his first varsity start. The Neshoba Central High School product went 33-of-42 (79%) for 300 yards and four touchdowns a week ago against the Bulldogs. In just the first half of the game played at Ridgeland High School, Anderson was 25-of-28 (89%) for 225 yards and three scores to help EMCC lead 28-7 at halftime.
Defensively as a team, EMCC entered the week tied for second in the MACCC behind Gulf Coast with 12 quarterback sacks on the season (MGCCC has 17). Additionally, the Lions are tied for fourth in the NJCAA Division I nationally with six interceptions on the year, including three in the opener against Co-Lin and two more a week ago against Holmes.
EMCC’s Stevens owns a 9-3 career record (7-1 at Scooba and 2-2 at Perkinston) against Mississippi Gulf Coast, including wins over the Bulldogs in seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams. Prior to a 31-7 loss to eventual national champion Gulf Coast in the 2019 conference semifinals at Perkinston, the Lions had won seven straight, including a 42-17 conference home victory over MGCCC in 2011. championship games, as well as home playoff semifinal wins over the Bulldogs in 2016 (27-24), 2014 (42-21) and 2013 (45-28). EMCC also posted a memorable home win (75-71) over Gulf Coast in 2009 to capture the first conference championship in school football history and set the stage for six additional league titles to follow during a successful decade (2009-18). at the match for the lions.