SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College's fifth national football championship in eight years was celebrated during Saturday's ring presentation ceremony and dinner banquet held at EMCC's F.R. Young Student Union on the Scooba campus.
EMCC football players and coaches along with administrative and support staff personnel from last year's national championship team were recognized during the evening ceremony in which they were presented rings honoring the Lions' 2018 NJCAA national championship as well as their seventh MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 football title during the past decade. Players in attendance, including some of whom have already started their senior college careers, also received gift bags that included national championship hats and commemorative T-shirts.
In addition to the presentation of championship rings, EMCC players were recognized for their NJCAA All-America, All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State honors from last year's undefeated 12-0 season that culminated with the Lions' hard-fought 10-9 victory over Garden City (Kan.) Community College in the NJCAA eTeamSponsor Football National Championship. The 2018 title game, nationally televised live on CBS Sports Network, was played at Pittsburg State University's Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg, Kansas.
With EMCC football radio play-by-play announcer and WFCA Radio production director Jason Crowder serving as the night's master of ceremonies, banquet attendees were also treated to a season highlight video presentation along with banquet remarks made by EMCC Director of Athletics Dr. Randall Bradberry and EMCC head football coach Buddy Stephens.
While becoming just the second NJCAA member school to claim back-to-back national football championships twice (2013-14 & 2017-18), East Mississippi currently trails only Butler (Kan.) and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for most national football titles (six apiece) in NJCAA history. Butler won consecutive NJCAA football championships in 1998-99 and again in 2007-08.
Since claiming their first national title in 2011, Coach Stephens' EMCC Lions have amassed an eight-year composite record of 86-5 (.945) dating back to their first of five national championship seasons. Along with winning six MACJC state titles (2011, '13-14 & '16-18) since 2011, that span also includes winning streaks of 25 and 20 consecutive games as well as a pair of 17-game win strings.
The EMCC Lions will begin defense of their national and state football championships by taking on the Hinds Community College Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 29, in Raymond to kick off their 2019 season. EMCC's home opener is slated for the following Thursday (Sept. 5) against the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College. Kickoff for the Lions' home opener against PRCC is set for 7 p.m. at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus.