EMCC Lions make emphatic statement
SCOOBA — Buddy Stephens earlier this week stopped short of saying his 2013 East Mississippi Community College Lions are his best team ever.
His players made that statement for him — emphatically — Saturday when the undefeated Lions smashed South Division champion Jones JC 61-24 for the state championship and the right to make history on Dec. 8.
That’s when the Lions will play Georgia Military for the national junior college championship in Biloxi. It will be the first time a national college football championship has been decided on Mississippi soil. Nothing’s official but EMCC officials believe they will play Georgia Militay in the Mississippi Bowl.
This much is certain: There has never been a better junior college team statistically — in Mississippi or perhaps anywhere. The Lions, 11-0, averaged 63 points per game offensively and allowed right at 7. Even the legendary EMCAA coach Bull Sullivan would be amazed .
As good as the Lions are offensively, it is the defense that jumps out at you. The defensive line looks like what you see lining up on Sundays. Several EMCC players might do just that. D. J. Pettway, who made a quarterback sack for a safety to give the Lions a 16-0 lead, made a quarterback sack for Alabama last year in the Crimson Tide’s national championship romp over Notre Dame.
The Lions’ defensive front dominated the scrimmage line, batting down passes when they weren’t tackling Bobcats behind the line.
Georgia Military, 10-0 headed into its season finale today, is ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA national rankings, EMCC No. 2. Jones was ranked No. 4 before Saturday.
EMCC won the national championship in 2011. The Lions are 55-10 under Stephens the past six years. Even with all that past winning Stephens says this team is extra special in at least one regard.
“I’ve never been around a more enjoyable group to coach,” Stephens said.