September 12, 2013 10:23:13 AM
FULTON -- The Itawamba Community College football team moved up to No. 12 in the NJCAA and JCGridiron.com football polls after its 40-6 victory against Southwest Mississippi C.C. last week in Summit.
ICC (2-0) jumped three spots from No. 15 in the latest NJCAA poll released Tuesday and four spots in the JCGridiron.com poll released late Monday.
ICC will try to build on that momentum at 7 tonight when it plays host to Mississippi Delta C.C. at Eaton Field in its first MACJC North Division game of the season.
"It's an honor to be seen as part of the top teams in the nation," ICC coach Jon Williams. "Hopefully it's something that the guys see to make them have a sense of pride and hunger to work harder to keep getting better each week.
"Mississippi Delta is one of the most improved teams in our league. They have some really good coaches that have got their players buying in to what they are trying to establish as a program. We'll have to stay focused this week in practice then come out and execute for four quarters of play because it's going to be a battle Thursday night."
The 2013 MACJC Women's State Championship tennis team will be presented their state championship rings during a special halftime ceremony and the Mooreville High School band is scheduled to take part of the halftime show along with the ICC All-American Band.
The game can be heard on WAFM 95.7 FM starting with the Davis Ford Pre-Game Show at 6:40 and will be streamed live on LetsGoICC.com.
n No. 5 EMCC will entertain Southwest Mississippi: At Scooba, the No. 5 East Mississippi C.C. Lions will complete the non-division, regular-season portion of their schedule at 7 tonight when they play host to Southwest Mississippi C.C. at Sullivan-Windham Field.
Having outscored their first two MACJC South Division foes by a combined margin of 108-6, head coach Buddy Stephens' Lions (2-0) followed their season-opening 49-6 victory at Pearl River C.C. with last Thursday's 59-0 home triumph against East Central C.C. In the two wins, the Lions have owned halftime leads of 35-0 and 38-0.
Along with ranking second nationally to Navarro College by averaging 54 points per game through Week 2, the Lions also stand second (to Iowa Western CC) with a per-game average of 547 yards of total offense on the year. EMCC's balanced offensive attack has produced an average of 300 passing yards and 247 rushing yards an outing early on this season. A week ago, the 334 rushing yards compiled against ECCC rank second behind only the 339 yards generated by EMCC on the ground at Coahoma last season for single-game school standards in Stephens' time at EMCC.
Ranking as the largest victory margin for a Stephens-coached EMCC team, the 59 points last week against ECCC tied for the third-most points scored in a game by the Lions since Stephens assumed his head coaching duties prior to the 2008 season. The 59-0 blanking of the visiting Warriors also marked the sixth shutout victory for the Lions over the past five-plus seasons and the fourth shutout for EMCC in the last nine games played dating back to last season.
Along with EMCC's continued success on the offensive side of the ball, the Lions' defensive unit has been equally impressive stopping the opposition. Having allowed an average of just 151 yards of total offense per outing through the first two weeks, the 88 yards of total offense (49 rushing, 39 passing) managed by East Central last week were the fewest yards surrendered in a game by a Stephens-guided EMCC club. In addition to sharing the NJCAA team lead by giving up just six total points thus far, the Lions are also tied for fourth nationally with six pass interceptions already this season.
EMCC sophomore quarterback Dontreal Pruitt ranks sixth nationally with an average of 277.5 passing yards per game on 36 of 60 accuracy and six touchdowns through the air. A dozen Lion receivers have caught at least one pass on the year, led by C.J. Bates and Brandon Bell with six grabs each. On the ground, Todd Mays (162 yards), Lakenderic Thomas (139), and Preston Baker (117) have all hit the century mark for rushing yardage for the season.
EMCC sophomore safety Allen Sentimore is tied for second among the NJCAA ranks with three pass interceptions already this season. A.J. Stamps' two picks in the Lions' season-opening win at PRCC have him tied for fifth nationally with several others. As a collective unit, EMCC has made 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage through the first two contests, highlighted by three sacks (for 28 yards lost) by Jimmie Gipson III during last week's home victory against ECCC.