Submitted by braswell on October 17, 2011 – 11:06am
POPLARVILLE Third-ranked East Mississippi Community College proved more than worthy of its prestigious NJCAA national ranking, as the Lions bombarded Pearl River 41-17 to spoil the host Wildcats 2011 Homecoming outing. EMCC, which improved to 7-0 with the victory, scored three unanswered touchdowns in the first half to build a commanding 27-7 lead at the intermission and PRCC catch up antics fell short. Tenth-year River head coach Tim Hatten lauded the Lions effort. From what Ive seen in this league, theyre better than anybody weve played, and weve already faced some of the toughest folks in state, he said. They (EMCC) have a chance to do some great things before the season is over. Saturday contest was also a homecoming, of sorts, for East Miss head coach Buddy Stephens and defensive coordinator William Jones, as the duo spent seven seasons at Pearl River before departing for Scooba in 2008. Both arrived in 2001 under then-head coach Scott Maxfield and spent their last seven seasons working under Hatten. The biggest difference in the game was we (EMCC) finished drives, said Stephens, who suited up for the Wildcats back in the 1980s as an offensive lineman. They had a lot of open guys, but William (Jones) had an excellent defensive game plan and it worked. We never allowed them to get into an offensive rhythm. Hatten said dropped passes was devastating to Wildcats. We dropped at least 12 to 14 balls out there today, he said. That what killed many of our drives. Against a team like East Mississippi, youve got outscore them 40-something to 40-something, but you cant score points unless you can sustain drives. We didnt. They did. Give them credit. Theyre very worthy of their national ranking. Theyre an excellent football team. PRCC drove 34 yards in nine snaps in the game opening possession, but All-American quarterback Melvin German out of Dunbar High in Fort Myers, Fla., was stopped short on a fourth and seven at the EMCC 36. The Lions answered with an eight-play scoring drive with Antoinne Adkins capping the series with a 16-yard run to make it 6-0 with 8:03 left in the first quarter. Taylor Walker extra point kick sailed wide. Three minutes later, the Wildcats took the lead. After Leonard Johnson of North Forrest High returned the ensuing kickoff 17 yards to his own 27, German went to work completing three of four passes for 65 yards in the seven-play scoring series. He connected with Rickey Bradley of Oak Grove High for 42 yards to convert a second and 10 to the EMCC 18 before finding Jonathan Duncan, another Oak Grove recruit, with a 10-yard TD pass. Caleb Keorgosein out of St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis kicked the PAT to give The River a 7-6 edge with 5:03 left in the first quarter. On East Miss next possession, Leonard Johnson intercepted Lion quarterback Bo Wallace, the top passer in the state and nation, and returned his pick 19 yards to the EMCC 27. On third down, German was sacked for a minus-11 to push things back to the 38 and Bradley pooch punted a 37-yarder to pin the Lions at the one. EMCC went three and out and Joe Weatherly punted 40 yards to midfield where German was picked off a Michael Pack at the PRCC 30. Wallace ensuing seven-yard completion to Rodney Davis was complimented by a 15-yard personal foul flag on the Wildcats to moved things to the 47. From that point, Wallace went four-for-five, capping the drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to J.J. Harbin. Walker PAT made it 13-7 East Mississippi with 13:42 left in the half. Pearl River managed to drive 56 yards in six plays to the Lion 13 on its next possession before things stalled and Kergosein 30-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Starting at its own 20, EMCC cashed in again five plays later. Wallace hit Lacoltan Bester with 23-yard and six-yard completions on first and second downs before Rodriquez Moore burst for a 39-yard run to the Wildcat 12. From there, Wallace found Davis on second down in the end zone for the score. Walker extra point pumped the Lions lead to 20-7 with 9:32 left before the intermission. The Wildcats cranked up its ensuing possession at their own 26 and German immediately found Duncan for 19 yards before keeping for six to the Lion 49. He hit Duncan again for nine, then connected with Seth Roberts three snaps later with a 20-yard completion, but the sophomore out of McKay Academy in Tallahassee, Fla., fumbled and East Miss recovered at the 20. Pearl River committed two 15-yard personal foul penalties on EMCC ensuing 80-yard scoring drive, where Wallace went three-for-four for 37 yards. His last completion was to Davis for an 11-yard touchdown. Walker PAT made it 27-7 with 4:42 left in the half. Starting at its own 18 on PRCC ensuing possession, German hit Bradley with a 15-yard pass on first down, which was complimented by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Lions to push things to the 46. Three completions later, The River was at the Lion 35 and converted a critical fourth and two when German found Jaquaa Peters of Columbia High with a 10-yard pass. Peters catch to the EMCC 25 was confounded by a Wildcat personal foul to push things back to the 40 where German missed on two straight throws before being sacked for a minus-seven and Bradley punted 41 yards to pin the Lions at the six. Wallace took two straight knees and the half ended. It took East Mississippi only six plays to pad its lead in the second half. Both squads were flagged on the opening kick off in the third Pearl River for 15 and East Mississippi for 10 but the Lions got cranked up at the their own 49. Wallace fumbled the first-down snap for a minus-four before hitting Hamp Glover for 11. A four-yard run and a five-yard completion later, Wallace kept for 32 to the three where Adkins ran it in a snap later. Walker extra point made it 34-7 with 12:40 left in the third period. Pearl River managed to drive to the EMCC 37 in seven plays, but two five-yard penalties and three straight incomplete passes set the stage for Bradley 46-yard punt that pinned the Lions at their own one. Ricky Willis of East Marion High picked off Wallace four plays into that East Miss possession at the Wildcat 42 and The River cashed in 10 plays later. German went eight for 10 on the drive, hitting Peters three times for a combined 38 yards, Duncan twice for 18, and Cheeto Johnson of Forrest County AHS twice for 18, before Roberts made a two-yard snag for the touchdown. Pacer Frierson of Picayune Memorial High kicked the extra point to make it 34-14 with 3:58 left in the third. Pearl River ensuing on-side kick was recovered by East Miss at the 42. After Wallace completed an 11-yarder to Moore to cross midfield, Bester was dropped for a minus-three and a 15-yard penalty on the Lions pushed things back to the 40 where Roberts intercepted Wallace and returned his pick to the EMCC 38. Cheeto Johnson was dropped for minus-10 on the first play before Shaquille Fluker intercepted German on second down and returned his pick 59 yards to the Wildcat 11. Wallace then hit Bester with a scoring pass. Walker PAT made it 41-14 with 1:11 left in the third period. Leonard Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 18 yards to his own 38 and Pack picked off German on first down for his third interception of the game. Four plays later, EMCC punted and PRCC regained possession at its own 34 where German threw his fourth interception this time by Jason Yarbor at his own 42. The Lions methodically drove to the Pearl River seven, but Roberts intercepted Wallace in the end zone and returned his pick to his own 45. German connected with Bradley for 20 yards on first down, while the Wildcats converted a second and six two snaps later via a 15-yard Lion penalty to move things to the EMCC 12. Three short completions later, the Wildcats were sitting at the Lion four where German kept for a TD only to see his effort nullified via a holding penalty. Frierson arrived to boot a 30-yard field goal with 4:55 left to end the scoring. The Wildcats finished the game with 25 first downs to the Lions 24, while PRCC amassed 439 yards of total offense (23 rush, 416 pass) to EMCC 386 (126 rush, 260 pass). German 42 completions snapped the school record of 41 he threw last season ironically against East Mississippi in Scooba while his 67 pass attempts are second-best in PRCC history. Wallace was 23 of 43 through the air. Both threw for all their teams aerial yardage. Duncan led all receivers in the game with 109 yards on 10 catches, while Peters had 75 on nine, Bradley 74 on four, Roberts 58 on eight, Cheeto Johnson 40 on six, Kris Riley of Orange Park (Fla.) High two for 36, Larry Thompson of Bassfield High one for 18, Snoop Rollins of North Forrest high one for five, and Steve Simon of East Marion High one for one. Harbin paced Lion receivers with seven catches for 97 yards, while Davis had eight for 72, and Bester five for 50. Moore ran for 97 yards on 18 carries. PRCC was penalized 16 times for an astounding 165 yards, while EMCC drew eight flags for 85. Bradley averaged 43.4 yards on three punts, while Joe Weatherly averaged 35.5 on three.Elsewhere Around The MACJC In Thursday night action (all in the North Division), 18th-ranked Northeast Mississippi (6-1, 4-1) smacked winless Coahoma (0-7, 0-5) 29-13 in Clarksdale, Northwest Mississippi (4-3, 2-2) blasted winless Mississippi Delta (0-7, 0-4) 37-0 in Moorhead, and Itawamba (3-4, 3-1) bombed Holmes (2-5, 2-2) in Goodman. In other Saturday action (all Homecoming games in the South Division), 10th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast (6-1, 5-0) dropped Copiah-Lincoln (3-4, 1-4) 34-14 in Wesson, 14th-ranked Hinds (6-1, 5-0) slipped past Southwest Mississippi (3-4, 1-3) in Summit, and Jones County (4-3, 1-3) dropped East Central (1-6, 0-4) in Ellisville.Next Week In The MACJC Next Thursday in the MACJC South, East Cental hosts Co-Lin in Decatur and Jones hosts Southwest in Ellisville, while in the North, Northeast hosts Itawamba in Booneville. One South Division game is set for Saturday when Hinds hosts Pearl River in Raymond, while in the North, East Mississippi hosts Mississippi Delta for its Homecoming in Scooba and Northwest hosts Holmes in Senatobia. Also on Saturday, Gulf Coast hosts Coahoma for its Homecoming in Perkinston in the only intra-divisional match up of the week.