MOORHEAD – No. 1-ranked East Mississippi Community College jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead over Mississippi Delta Community College on the way to coasting to a 45-7 MACJC North Division road win Thursday evening at Jim Randall Stadium.
Matching two big scoring plays with a pair of long drives that built a commanding 31-0 halftime lead, the EMCC Lions piled up 446 yards of total offense in the first half alone to power the reigning MACJC state champions to their 16th consecutive victory overall as well as extending the program's winning streak in division play to 27 consecutive games dating back to 2013.
The visitors began the game's scoring with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 9-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyrell Price at the 12:26 mark. EMCC quickly made it 14-0 when LSU transfer quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. connected with Georgia Southern transfer receiver Mike Williams on a 71-yard catch and run to the end zone with 8:57 still remaining in the opening quarter.
On the Lions' next series to close out the first-quarter scoring, Scott engineered a 13-play, 87-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard scoring toss to Texas A&M/Oregon transfer receiver Kirk Merritt at the 1:59 mark.
The highlight of the second quarter increased East Mississippi's lead to 28-0 in impressive fashion. On a third-and-short play, Price ripped off a 70-yard touchdown jaunt in which he juked a would-be tackler down field on his way into the end zone with 11:32 remaining in the half. Price's second scoring run of the half gives him 11 rushing touchdowns on the year to rank high among the nation's leaders. The Lafayette High School product finished the evening with 109 yards rushing on just eight carries for his third 100-yard outing of the season.
The only other scoring during an otherwise uneventful second quarter was a 31-yard made field goal by EMCC sophomore Grayson Pontius as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Following intermission, the Lions reached the MACJC's mandated 38-point mercy rule margin with a highlight-reel moment midway through the third quarter. EMCC's Scott was hit hard in the backfield before spinning away from the defender, bouncing outside off more would-be tacklers and finally going airborne into the right corner of the end zone to finish off a nifty 33-yard touchdown scamper at the 7:20 mark.
Mississippi Delta was able to get on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when running back John-Derrick Smith capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive for the Trojans with a 4-yard scoring burst at the 13:08 mark. Five minutes later, Lion sophomore running back Justin Connor went in from one yard out to account for the game's final margin.
On the night, EMCC's well-balanced offensive attack compiled 630 yards of total offense with 349 yards through the air and another 281 yards via the ground. Scott finished the night completing 25-of-35 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. The former Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year also had 45 rushing yards on five attempts.
For the second time this season, the Lions had 11 different players with at least one reception in the contest. Meridian's Daniel Crowell Jr. led the way with six catches for 52 yards followed by Merritt and Collins' Dorrean McLaurin with four grabs apiece.
Coach Buddy Stephens' EMCC Lions, now 5-0 overall and 3-0 in division play, will return home to play host to nationally ranked Holmes Community College Thursday night (Oct. 5) in a 7 p.m. contest at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus. The Holmes Bulldogs were ranked third nationally in this week's NJCAA poll before dropping a 33-13 home decision to 17th-ranked Northwest Mississippi Thursday night in Goodman.