They don’t beat drums all night on the Decatur campus prior to the game as in the past, but the rivalry is still intense when East Mississippi Community College’s Lions and the Warriors of East Central Community College meet on the gridiron.
The two squads battle Thursday, Sept. 6 for the first time since 2007. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bailey Stadium.
East Central holds a 35-24-4 edge in the longtime rivalry that began in 1929 with “Decatur” claiming a 6-0 shutout. The Warriors have also won the last six matchups – 31-20 in 2007, 24-20 in 2006, 26-0 in 2005, 44-7 in 2004, 35-28 in 2000 and 33-13 in 1999. The most recent win for East Mississippi was in 1998, when the Lions held on for a 12-7 victory on the Decatur campus.
The two teams previously played each year on an annual basis when both were members of the MACJC North Division. East Central joined the South Division in the 1970s and since then the squads meet according to a rotating schedule.
This year’s rivalry is expected to attract an even larger crowd than normal, as the Lions are the defending NJCAA champions and the pre-season choice for the 2012 title.
East Mississippi began the new season by cruising 35-15 over Pearl River Community College Saturday in Scooba.
The Warriors’ campaign began on a disappointing note – a 35-13 setback to visiting Itawamba Community College.
Although disappointed with the loss to the Indians, East Central head football coach Brian Anderson said the Warriors have quickly turned their focus to East Mississippi.
“I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff,” said Anderson. “They have accomplished great things over the past few years. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
The ECCC/EMCC matchup can be heard on KICKS 98 (98.3 FM) and on the ECCC Web site, featuring veteran broadcasters Melvin Wooten and Gilbert Barham.