No. 1 EMCC outscores ICC in football

Staff Writer

It’s week one for the East Mississippi Community College Lions to have that No. 1 in front of their name for the first time since preseason last year.

Itawamba Community College had the blueprint for an upset already in its back pocket after beating No. 5 Northwest 27-24 last week. EMCC (4-0, 2-0 North) navigated through some tough moments and got past its North Division foe with a 48-24 win in Scooba on Thursday.

“Sometimes you have those games where everything doesn’t go right,” Lions head coach Buddy Stephens said. “Our big thing right now is that we’re 1-0 this week and hopefully, we’ll get better, but I’m proud of the guys for the effort because they could have stopped.”

ICC quarterback Dan Ellington was a problem for the EMCC defense for four quarters.

The Indians out-gained the Lions 611-509 with Ellington lighting up the secondary for 494 passing yards. His wide out Terry Williams was a terror for the secondary with 16 catches 197 yards.

The difference in the game was EMCC’s ability to establish the run and its defense’s ability to stop it. The Lions racked up 310 yards on the ground.

Ellington started the game throwing the football 34 yards into the end zone on ICC’s first possession and coming down with it in double coverage was receiver Jamel Thomas for the score. EMCC answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyrell Price and the Lions added a field goal on the next possession for a 10-7 lead through one quarter.

Price scored his second touchdown of the game midway through the second when he carried defenders into the end zone for an 11-yard run. Ellington showed off his legs on the next possession with a 5-yard scamper and made it 17-14 as the two teams went to the locker room.

At the start of the half, the Lions forced a fumble that was recovered by Ty Williams. Two plays later, Lindsey Scott Jr. scrambled off towards the right sidelines for a 21-yard touchdown and the Lions were up 24-14.

The EMCC defense did a solid job of keeping the Indians out of the end zone in the third quarter holding ICC at the 1-yard-line and forcing a field goal and then causing a turnover on downs.

The Lions took over from there and Ja’Mori Mark burst through the defense and scored a 59-yard touchdown for the 31-17 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

Ellington and the Indians were not going away. The sophomore quarterback drove the team all the way down inside the 10 and then threw an 8-yard pass to tight end Chris Long to close the gap to 31-24.

The ensuing kickoff return by Mike WIlliams help setup a quick score as Scott found Brandon Rodgers in the back of the end zone for a 29-yard score to retake the two touchdown lead at 38-24 with 14 minutes left.
A turnover on downs forced by the EMCC defense gave way to a Crabtree 39 yard field goal to seal the game with a 41-24 lead. The Lions tacked on a late score on Scott’s 17-yard pass to Dontario Dummond for the 24-point win.

Price, who leads the country with nine rushing touchdowns, led the way for the EMCC offense with his 19 carries and 114 yards putting two touchdowns on the board. Scott was 21-of-35 with 199 yards, two touchdowns and an interception with Kirk Merritt being his leading receiver with eight catches and 70 yards.

The win was the 15th-straight for the Lions dating back to the second game of the season last year. They’ve won 26-straight at home dating back to 2013 and continue North division play next week when they travel to Mississippi Delta next Thursday.