September 18, 2009 7:42:00 AM
SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College carried a No. 2 national ranking in the NJCAA/JCfootball.com poll and an undefeated record into Thursday night''s game against rival No. 13 ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.
A soggy field and the threat of rain didn''t deter fans from filling EMCC''s Sullivan-Windham Field for the much-anticipated matchup.
The Lions seemed to be in gear to continue their winning ways and offensive domination when All-America quarterback Randall Mackey hit wide receiver Lance Lewis in stride for an 80-yard opening play touchdown. With barely 18 seconds elapsed, EMCC led 7-0.
But the lead was short lived as EMCC suffered a 43-26 loss.
MGCCC responded on its first possession when quarterback Greg Jenkins found wide receiver Kelvin Bolden open in the secondary for a touchdown. Bo Bryan split the uprights on the extra point to tie the score at 7.
From that point, EMCC (3-1) couldn''t respond consistently with big plays to keep up with the determined Bulldogs.
MGCCC (3-1) limited EMCC''s leading rusher, Pat Shed, of Starkville, to 29 yards on six carries, and led 21-14 after the first quarter, 35-20 at halftime, and 38-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Jenkins passed for 235 yards (12 of 22) and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 12 yards.
"They played a lot of man defense and I felt like our receivers could make plays on their DBs," Jenkins said. "It was emotional. They came to our house last year and beat us, and we felt like we had to redeem ourselves."
Brett Moncrief hauled in seven passes for 111 yards and one touchdown, Kevin Bolden caught four passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns, and Curt Amacker caught one pass for 13 yards.
"I''m very proud of our effort," MGCCC coach Steve Campbell said. "They played very hard against a very, very good EMCC football team. They tried to load up the box, but we had some very big plays. Anytime you can hold Randall Mackey to 26 points you''ve done a good job."
Mackey was 20 of 35 for 371 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. He rushed 13 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
Stephon Johnson led EMCC in receiving with seven catches for 90 yards. Lance Lewis caught two passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, and T.J. Ballou caught two passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.
"We got off to a great start, but we kind of killed ourselves with some miscommunications," Lewis said. "The coaches put us in the right places but we just didn''t execute. We just have to go on and look to our next game."
Trailing by only one point at the beginning of the second quarter, Mackey committed a rare fumble that MGCCC parlayed into a pivotal scoring drive, capped by an Eric Wills blast up the middle for a 22-yard score.
On its next possession, a Mackey interception led to another score by the Bulldogs with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining in the first half.
"We started off good on our first drive but after that we did not execute like we needed to," EMCC coach Buddy Stephens said. "They had a lot of sacks and put way too much pressure on our quarterback. That falls back on me as a head coach and offensive line coach. Defensively, we gave up too many big plays and we did not take the ball away in the second half."
EMCC plays Thursday at Northwest in Senatobia.