East Mississippi are State Champions once again

East Mississippi defeat Co-Lin 27-20 at Sullivan-Windham Field Saturday afternoon to become back-to-back MACCC Champions.
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 9:57 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SCOOBA, Miss. (WTOK) - Quarterback Ty Keyes and the No. 6 East Mississippi Lions offense were left with 2:26 on the clock to drive the length of the field and take the lead in a 20-20 game vs. No. 4 Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

In a classic final two-minute drill situation, the Lions were able to make quick work of their opportunity to take the lead.

Keyes found wide receiver, Raymon Blackmon, on a 79-yard catch and run that gave the Lions a 27-20 lead with 1:17 left to play.

On Co-Lin’s ensuing drive, they did what they were doing all game long- getting the ball to running back Johnnie Daniels. On what looked like could be a 50+ yard game-tying touchdown run, Lions’ linebacker, Tyrese Hopkins, forced the ball out of Daniels hands, then it was recovered by defensive lineman Jaylen Durgan.

Keyes was able to take three knees in victory formation to run out the clock and win the first title game of his career.

The Southern Miss transfer from Taylorsville finished the day completing 17-32 attempts for 246 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 31 yards.

121 of those yards and both touchdowns went to Blackmon, who reeled in four total receptions.

Although the offense didn’t get rolling to the clip they’ve produced all season, they got into a rhythm in the fourth quarter. Plus, with the defense doing their part by holding Co-Lin’s offense to just 20 points, the Lions were able to do enough to grind out a tough fought win.

“I think the biggest thing was we stopped standing around and watching the paint dry,” said Lions head coach, Buddy Stephens. “I said, these are the same guys that all summer long put their hand on the ground and were running sprints all year long together and you were lifting each other up. And now that it’s time to really do something hard, you’re going to not lift each other up? And they did.”

The Lions will now await the NJCAA’s final playoff rankings of the year to see if they will be voted into the four team playoff. The NJCAA is holding a DI Playoff Selection Show, Monday Nov. 20th, at 3PM on their network.