East Mississippi set to host Itawamba in division action with new No. 1 national ranking in hand

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SCOOBA, Miss. (EMCC Athletics) - New No. 1-ranked and reigning state champion East Mississippi Community College returns home to play host to Itawamba Community College during Thursday’s MACJC North Division action on the Scooba campus. Kickoff for EMCC’s home division football opener is set for 7 p.m. at Sullivan-Windham Field.

Taking advantage of previously top-ranked Arizona Western College’s open week, the 3-0 EMCC Lions edged the Matadors by a single vote (137-136) and grabbed five of the nine first-place votes to flop spots at the top of the national rankings.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that East Mississippi has been No. 1 in the NJCAA football rankings at some point during the season. Most recently, the Lions were rated No. 1 nationally in the 2015 and 2016 preseason polls after sitting atop the rankings for most of the 2014 campaign on the way to capturing their third national championship in four years.

Following season-opening home wins over MACJC South Division powers Jones County (47-34) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (49-10), the 2017 Lions opened division play in dominating fashion by blanking Northeast Mississippi 59-0 on the road last Thursday to improve their overall winning streak to 14 consecutive games and extend their division win string to 25 straight contests dating back to the 2013 season.