SCOOBA – In their final road action of the regular season, the 17th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will travel to Clarksdale to meet Coahoma Community College during Thursday's MACJC North Division football action. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at James E. Miller Stadium on the CCC campus.
Coach Buddy Stephens' EMCC Lions are 4-3 overall and 2-2 in division play after dropping a 49-42 road decision to the Holmes Bulldogs last Thursday in Goodman. The week prior (Oct. 3 in Scooba), EMCC's seven-year, 36-game home winning streak came to an end with a 56-36 setback to now-No. 2 Northwest Mississippi. East Mississippi's consecutive regular-season losses mark the first time that's happened since the 2010 Lions opened the season with three straight defeats en route to going 5-5 overall and 4-2 within the division. This year's four EMCC wins over Pearl River (49-15), Itawamba (48-3), Mississippi Delta (41-23) and East Central (24-0) all came during the month of September following the Lions' 24-16 season-opening road setback to now-No. 6 Hinds on Aug. 29.
Statistically as a team on the year, East Mississippi entered the week ranked 12th among the NJCAA leaders averaging 36.6 points per game. In addition, the Lions rank third nationally in total offense (497.4 yds/gm) and second in passing yards (352.7 yds/gm).
Individually for EMCC, transfer quarterback Connor Neville (Beaverton, OR) currently ranks second among the NJCAA statistical leaders with an average of 308.3 passing yards per contest. In addition, the Washington State transfer rates fourth nationally in pass completion percentage (64.9%) after connecting on 38-of-49 (78%) passes at Holmes last week. Neville is also tied for sixth in the country with 16 touchdown passes for the year.
On the receiving end for the Lions, sophomore Jason Brownlee has taken over the NJCAA lead with 56 receptions on the year following three straight games with 10 or more catches and two touchdowns. He ranks second nationally in receiving yards per game (116.6 yds/gm) and also with 10 touchdown catches on the season. With five 100-yard receiving efforts for the year, the West Point product is approaching EMCC's single-season marks (Stephens Era) of 76 receptions and 1,042 receiving yards currently held by former Oklahoma receiver Lacoltan Bester set during the Lions' 2011 national championship season.
Guided by fourth-year head football coach Steven Miller, the 1-6 Coahoma Tigers have dropped six consecutive decisions since upsetting then-No. 4 Jones, 18-10, to open the season in Clarksdale. Since the season-opening win over the Bobcats, CCC has fallen to Mississippi Gulf Coast (36-6), Northeast Mississippi (26-17), Itawamba (30-21), Mississippi Delta (29-27), Hinds (54-26) and most recently last week at Northwest Mississippi (54-18).
Sporting an overall head coaching record of 114-16 (.877) and MACJC North Division mark of 64-6 (.914) in his 12th season with the EMCC Lions, Stephens owns an 11-0 career record against Coahoma (6-0 in Scooba & 5-0 in Clarksdale). Last season (Oct. 18) in Scooba, the Lions closed out their 2018 regular-season home slate with a 47-0 shutout victory over the Tigers. EMCC also prevailed the previous year (Oct. 21) during Homecoming 2017 on the Scooba campus with a 72-7 triumph over CCC. During the most recent series meeting in Clarksdale (Oct. 20, 2016), EMCC blanked Coahoma, 42-0, at James E. Miller Stadium.
Thursday's EMCC-Coahoma divisional 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. The Lions' 2019 football radio broadcasts are also 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 are available in HD at www.EMCCAthletics.com/live. Alternate audio streams of the radio broadcasts are also available at www.wfca.fm.