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. Ask Rufus: Oysters, steamboats and Thanksgiving LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Charity should not be seasonal DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Leonard Pitts: Bill Cosby, serial rapist? That's a lot to forgive NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Froma Harrop: End the game on immigration reform NATIONAL COLUMNS