SCOOBA – Top-ranked East Mississippi Community College begins MACJC North Division home play Thursday evening by welcoming Mississippi Delta Community College to the Scooba campus. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at EMCC's Sullivan-Windham Field.
Winners of 77 of their last 82 games dating back to their first of four national championship seasons (2011, '13, '14 & '17), 11th-year head coach Buddy Stephens' EMCC Lions are 3-0 overall on the year after claiming a 56-26 road win over Itawamba during last week's division-opening contest in Fulton. The reigning national and state champions opened the current season with a 50-0 home shutout win over preseason 13th-ranked Hinds followed by a 59-10 road victory over Pearl River.
Having topped the 50-point mark during all three wins this season, EMCC currently ranks fourth nationally in both scoring offense (55.0 ppg) and total offense (536 yds/gm). Along with standing second among NJCAA teams with an average of 351 passing yards per game, the Lions are also tied for second nationally with 13 rushing touchdowns as a team on the year.
On the defensive side of the ball, EMCC is tied for seventh nationally with a state-most seven pass interceptions. The Lions have picked off multiple passes during each of the season's first three contests.
Individually for East Mississippi, Notre Dame transfer running back Deon McIntosh presently tops the NJCAA statistical leaderboard with seven rushing touchdowns and 42 points scored. The Pompano Beach, Fla., native has reached the end zone at least twice each game this season. Through the air, sophomore wide receiver Dontario Drummond stands second nationally with five touchdown receptions this season after ranking fourth in the NJCAA a year ago with an MACJC-leading 10 scoring grabs as a freshman. The Laurel product is averaging 32.4 yards per catch on the year with seven receptions for 227 total yards through the first three games.
Guided by sixth-year head coach Jeff Tatum, the Trojans of Mississippi Delta are winless in three tries this season. After dropping non-division road decisions to Mississippi Gulf Coast (52-0) and Hinds (31-21) to open the season, Delta began division play by falling, 59-16, at home to Northwest Mississippi last week. Tatum, a former MDCC quarterback who previously served as the Trojans' offensive coordinator from 1987 to 1997, also presently doubles as the school's director of athletics.
With a career record of 101-13 (.886) as the NJCAA's seventh-winningest active head football coach, EMCC's Stephens is unbeaten in 10 previous meetings with Mississippi Delta while evenly splitting the decisions between Scooba and Moorhead. Last season (Sept. 28) at Jim Randall Stadium, the Lions jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on the way to earning a 45-7 road win over the Trojans. Two years ago (Sept. 29, 2016) in Scooba, EMCC posted a 73-7 home triumph over Delta to mark the fifth-most points scored by the Lions in a game during the Stephens era.
Sporting an eight-year collective home record of 39-1 since moving into their current Sullivan-Windham Field location prior to the 2011 football season, the EMCC Lions currently own a 29-game home winning streak over the past six seasons. Their lone home setback dating back to 2011 was a last-second 47-46 defeat at the hands of eventual state champion Copiah-Lincoln during the 2012 MACJC state semifinals played in Scooba.
Under Stephens' guidance as eight-time divisional champions (2008-09 & 2011-16), the EMCC Lions have compiled a 57-4 record (.934) in MACJC North Division regular-season contests. They have gone unbeaten in regular-season division play seven times during the previous 10 seasons. The Lions' current home divisional win string stands at 22 consecutive games in a streak that dates back to the last home game played (38-14 win over Holmes) at the previous site of Sullivan-Windham Field during the 2010 regular-season finale.
Thursday's EMCC-Delta contest will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Jonathan Holmes slated to provide the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively, while Glen Beard is set to handle sideline reporting duties. EMCC's 2018 football radio broadcasts will also be carried live 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 www.EMCCAthletics.com/live. Alternate audio streams of the radio broadcasts are also available at www.wfca.fm. Fans are also encouraged to follow EMCC Athletics through the college's athletics website, www.EMCCAthletics.com, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@EMCCAthletics) via the school's social media hub at www.EMCCAthletics.com/Social-Media-Hub.