SCOOBA – While moving up three notches as a team to No. 5 nationally in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 football poll, East Mississippi Community College also received some individual recognition Tuesday as a result of last week’s season-opening victory at Pearl River. For their efforts during last Thursday’s 49-6 win in Poplarville, EMCC’s A.J. Stamps and C.J. Bates have been accorded MACJC/jucoweekly.org Player of the Week honors on defense and special teams, respectively.
Stamps, a converted wide receiver making his collegiate defensive debut at cornerback, had a pair of interceptions against the Wildcats, including an official 100-yard interception return for a touchdown that was picked off three yards into the end zone. To open the game a week ago, the former Vicksburg High School standout ended Pearl River’s initial possession of the game by picking off Will Gross’ pass and returning it 19 yards. Stamps, who had nine total receptions for 73 yards as a freshman receiver last season for the 8-2 EMCC Lions, was also credited with three unassisted tackles in last week’s opener.
Though awarded for his special teams play, Bates also made an impact offensively for the Lions against Pearl River. The freshman wide receiver accounted for 178 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns during EMCC’s opener on four punt returns for 100 yards and four receptions for 78 yards. Bates, out of Louisville High School, scored his pair of touchdowns on a 60-yard scoring catch early in the second quarter and later on a 62-yard punt return to the end zone late in the third period.
Sophomore quarterback Griff Loftis, of Itawamba Community College, earned MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week honors for Week 1.
As a team in this year’s first NJCAA regular-season football poll, head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions moved up three places from their No. 8 preseason ranking. Heading into Thursday’s 7 p.m. home opener versus traditional gridiron rival East Central Community College sporting a 45-10 composite record under Stephens’ guidance, East Mississippi has been ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 during 43 of the 56 weekly polls, including a collective total of 32 weeks in the Top 10, dating back to the start of the 2008 season.
MACJC rival Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College maintained its No. 1 poll position, followed by second-ranked Navarro (TX) College, reigning national champion Iowa Western CC at No. 3, and Butler (KS) CC in the fourth spot. Within the MACJC ranks, reigning state champion Copiah-Lincoln Community College also stepped up three notches from ninth to sixth. In addition, Hinds CC jumped five places to No. 10 and Itawamba CC inched up a notch to 15th this week.
EMCC’s football games this season will be broadcast live by WFCA-FM (107.9), out of French Camp, with Jason Crowder and Glen Beard set to describe the play-by-play action, and John Lyle Briggs serving as the Lions’ sideline reporter. EMCC’s 2013 football radio broadcasts are also slated to be carried live by Meridian’s WKZB-FM (95.1).
Throughout the season, EMCC’s weekly live video-streamed football broadcasts (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-football) will be available in HD by accessing EMCC’s athletics website, www.EMCCAthletics.com. An alternate audio stream of the radio broadcast will also be available at www.wfcafm108.com. For the second consecutive week to open the 2013 campaign, the Lions’ Thursday home opener against East Central (7 p.m.) will be the featured JUCO Weekly MACJC Football Game of the Week.