December 2, 2011 1:42:00 PM
By Saturday night, the entire state will feel the sting of the Yellow Jackets.
And Arizona will know why the Lion is the king.
Two local teams are headed to championship games on Saturday.
The East Mississippi Community College Lions play for a national title in Yuma, Ariz.
And the Starkville High Yellow Jackets face Picayune in Jackson for a state championship.
Neither made it there by mistake or through blind luck.
For EMCC, it's the culmination of a season reminiscent of the days of Bull Sullivan.
Sullivan was a legend in and around Scooba, leaving his footprint on EMCC in the '50s and '60s. In 1984, a Sports Illustrated cover story declared him "The Toughest Coach There Ever Was."
Today, it's Buddy Stephens leading the Lions through an undefeated season.
And they will return from Arizona still undefeated, he believes.
EMCC faces Arizona Western College in the El Toro Bowl, to determine the top team in the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Arizona Western Matadors boast the same record as our Lions, 11-0.
Starkville High's Yellow Jackets are 12-2, as they head into the state championship.
At the center of their success is quarterback Gabe Myles and a dominating defensive line.
And the team's coach, Jamie Mitchell, refuses to accept anything less than success.
EMCC and Starkville High have worked hard to get here.
Thursday morning, fans, family, friends and EMCC students gathered at the Scooba campus and then at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport to see the team off to Yuma.
Thursday night, Yellow Jacket supporters met for a pep rally, to gear up for the big game.
We'll continue to cheer on both teams.
And whether or not the games come with another trophy, they're already champions to us.
1. Wyatt Emmerich: Some things the Legislature got right LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Our View: The scene is set for a hike DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Lynn Spruill: Welfare for politicians LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Our View: Relay for Life DISPATCH EDITORIALS
5. Kathleen Parker: Plato, Aristotle and Donald Trump NATIONAL COLUMNS