November 13, 2013 6:59:54 AM
SCOOBA -- Headlined by Region 23 Offensive Most Valuable Player Dontreal Pruitt and Coach of the Year Buddy Stephens, the MACJC state champion East Mississippi Community College football team placed a state-high eight players on the NJCAA All-Region 23 Team, announced Tuesday by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges.
EMCC's honors came on the same day it accepted an invitation to meet top-ranked and fellow unbeaten Georgia Military College in the 2013 NJCAA National Championship Game at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Mississippi Bowl VI in Biloxi.
With Pruitt, a former Laurel High School product, becoming EMCC's fifth NJCAA Region 23 Offensive MVP recipient in six seasons under Stephens' guidance, the Lions' top-rated offensive unit nationally is also represented on the All-Region team by wide receiver C.J. Bates, of Louisville, and lineman Avery Gennesy, of Southaven.
A two-time MACJC Offensive Player of the Week honoree as a sophomore, Pruitt follows in a recent line of EMCC quarterbacks who have claimed NJCAA Region 23 Offensive MVP honors as well as NJCAA All-America recognition under Stephens. That list consists of current starters Quez Johnson, of Starkville, who is at Florida Atlantic, and Bo Wallace, who is at Ole Miss, along with former Ole Miss Rebel Randall Mackey.
Defensively, three-fourths of the All-Region 23 defensive line is occupied by EMCC sophomore standouts Jimmie Gipson III, of Olive Branch, Jarran Reed, of Goldsboro, N.C., and D.J. Pettway, of Pensacola, Fla. Also representing the NJCAA's No. 1-ranked defense on the all-region squad are sophomores Christian Russell, of Fayetteville, N.C., at a linebacker spot and A.J. Stamps, of Vicksburg, in the secondary.
Now up for NJCAA All-American consideration, the eight all-region selections are three more than any other team in the state this season. Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. and Copiah-Lincoln C.C., out of the MACJC's South Division, follow with five and four all-region honorees, respectively. EMCC's eight 2013 selections give the Lions a state-best total of 27 NJCAA All-Region 23 football recipients in Stephens' six-year coaching stint in Scooba. Mississippi Gulf Coast is next with 26 all-region mentions dating back to the 2008 campaign.
Along with EMCC's eight All-Region honorees, the Lions also placed four players on the MACJC's 2013 All-State/North Division First Team. Headed by EMCC's Stephens as the MACJC North Division Coach of the Year, the Lions hold down 13 of the 25 first-team spots on the North's All-State squad.
EMCC players garnered all four of the Most Valuable Player honors accorded to the MACJC's North Division. Pruitt was chosen the Offensive Back MVP, while Gennesy earned the Offensive Lineman MVP. On defense, Russell and Gipson collected MVP plaudits for backs and linemen, respectively.
Also chosen to the 2013 MACJC All-State/North Division First Team were: wide receiver Antoinne Adkins, of Meridian, and kicker Drew White, of Tupelo, on offense and defensive lineman D.J. Jones, of Clemson, S.C., and defensive back Allen Sentimore, of Laurel. Bates, an All-Region selection, was selected as a wide receiver and kick returner on the All-State listing.
Second-teamers on the MACJC's All-State/North Division squad are: running back Lakenderic Thomas, of West Point, and offensive lineman Wiley Maddox, of Bruce.
n Other local players honored: Noxubee County's JaNardeon Jones was one of nine Itawamba C.C. players named to the All-State teams.
Jones, a freshman wide receiver, had 31 catches for 454 yards and two touchdowns. He earned second-team honors.
CJ Jackson, of Water Valley, Darius White, of Grenada, Archie Dennard, of Hollandale-Simmons, Tony Holmes, of Oak Grove, and Brandon Jones, of Lewisburg, were first-team All-North Division selections, while Griff Loftis, of Mooreville, Cameron Wiggins, of Birmingham, Ala., and AJ Hunt, of Saltillo, earned second-team honors.
n Sophomore Dequinten Spraggins, of West Point, was one of eight Northeast Mississippi C.C. players to be recognized. He earned second-team All-North Division honors.
With the third-best numbers in tackles (51) and pass breakups (six) on the squad, Spraggins got stronger at defensive back as the season progressed.
He had 10 tackles against EMCC and had a crucial interception against then-No. 20 ICC a week later that set up a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
n At Pearl River, C.C. former Noxubee County High running back Darrell Robinson was named second-team All-South Division.
n At Northwest Mississippi C.C., freshman left tackle Samuel Edmondson was named to the second team. He was one of two players honored.
Edmondson, who is from Fairview, Tenn., started in all nine games at left tackle and anchored an offensive line that was made up of all freshmen. Edmondson and the unit helped pave the way for former Columbus High standout Damian Baker to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in his career, making him the fifth player in school history to reach the milestone.