October 7, 2012 1:07:16 AM
Scott Walters - email@example.com
SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College Vice President and Director of Athletics Mickey Stokes stood on the 25-yard line at Sullivan-Windham Field on Saturday afternoon.
As the final seconds ticked off the stadium clock and a brisk wind blew over the playing surface, Stokes exhaled and let out a wide smile.
It was a good day for the Stokes family.
Stokes became one of the eight newest members of the EMCC Hall of Fame. The latest class was honored at halftime of No. 5 EMCC's 35-0 victory against Holmes C.C. in a MACJC game on Homecoming.
"This was a really fun day," Stokes said. "I will always be deeply indebted to this institution and what it stands for. I really feel honored to be joining so many others have helped make this such an outstanding place."
Stokes has been part of the EMCC full-time staff since 1988. His football playing career included playing at West Kemper High School, EMCC, and Mississippi College. Stokes assumed administrative duties with the athletic department in 2007. Since that time, EMCC has had six region championships, nine North Division championships, two football state championships, and the 2011 football national championship.
The 2012 EMCC Hall of Fame class also includes John Apple (Nashville, Tenn.), Martin Buchanan (Porterville), Bobby Mitchener (Brandon), Ernie Moore (Brooksville), Ed Mosley (Meridian), Gene Murphy (Raymond), and Billy Harold Smith (Collinsville).
Also Saturday, the school unveiled a seven-foot bronze statue honoring longtime coach "Bull" Sullivan. The statue includes the skull and cross bone leather helmet, as well as the star jersey. The present EMCC squad uses both as part of today's uniform pattern.
Taking one year to complete, the statute stands between the end zone and concession stand, cost $60,000, and was paid for through donations.
Sullivan coached the EMCC football team from 1950-1952 and again from 1956-1969.
EMCC pitched its second shutout of the season, and fifth in Buddy Stephens' fourth seasons as head coach. The Lions haven't allowed a point in 18 of 24 quarters this season.
EMCC didn't score in the first half for the first time since Stephens' first game as head coach -- a 28-9 home victory against Copiah-Lincoln C.C. on Aug. 28, 2008. EMCC last failed to score in back-to-back quarters on Oct. 17, 2009, when it didn't have a second-half score in a 28-6 victory at Itawamba C.C.
The Lions have allowed 17 points or less in all six games this season. In the past four seasons, EMCC had held opponents under that mark on 20 occasions. The 2012 Lions have allowed seven points or less four times this season. That feat had happened six times in the past four seasons before this year.
EMCC will returns to the road for a 7 p.m. start Thursday against Northeast Mississippi C.C. in Booneville.
Last season, both teams were nationally ranked when EMCC posted a 63-35 victory in Booneville. Northeast is 2-4 and 1-3 in division play.
EMCC can clinch a playoff berth with two more victories or a victory Thursday and other results around the league.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter