September 9, 2011 8:41:00 AM
RAYMOND -- The No. 9 East Mississippi Community College football team survived its first road test of the season Thursday night, defeating Hinds C.C. 20-17 on Thursday night at Joe Renfroe Stadium.
Despite more than doubling the Eagles in total yards (504-250), EMCC didn''t breathe easy until the final horn. However, things looked promising for the visitors at the outset, as the Lions scored on two of their first three possessions.
It took EMCC a little less than two minutes and five plays to move 50 yards following Rodney Davis'' game-opening 50-yard kickoff return. With freshman running back Rodriguez Moore setting the tone with gains of 14 and 30 yards in his first two carries, freshman quarterback Bo Wallace found Lacoltan Bester cutting across the middle of the field three plays later for a 3-yard scoring strike. Sophomore kicker Taylor Walker connected on the kick to make it 7-0 game at the 13-minute, 11-second mark.
With Hinds'' first two possessions of the game resulting in three-and-outs, the Lions took a 10-0 lead on Walker''s 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The Northwest Rankin High School product atoned for a 39-yard miss earlier in the quarter.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard as the opening period expired when quarterback Deon Anthony connected with Quantavius Leslie on a 20-yard scoring play. Kyle Williams'' kick trimmed the deficit to 10-7.
The second quarter featured a battle of the kickers, as each kicker converting 1 of 2 attempts. EMCC''s Walker capped a 13-play drive with a 27-yard attempt. On Hinds'' subsequent drive, Williams'' 39-yarder sailed left to keep the score at 13-7.
Later in the period, the Eagles capitalized on Tavarius Wilson''s interception on Williams'' 19-yard kick.
Walker missed a 29-yard kick on the final play of the first half.
EMCC (2-0) mixed the pass and the run to score on its first possession of the third quarter. Wallace connected on all five pass attempts in the drive before Davis'' 16-yard end-around set up Moore''s 10-yard scoring burst up the middle. Walker''s kick made it 20-10 with 10:14 remaining in the quarter.
Hinds C.C. (1-1) used a 16-play, 55-yard scoring drive that chewed up 7:26 on the game clock. Anthony''s 2-yard dive into the end zone and Williams'' PAT kick trimmed the margin to 20-17 with 6:02 left.
Wallace, the reigning NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week, helped the Lions whittle away the final 5:52 by keeping the ball on the ground. Wallace kept the drive alive midway through the possession with back-to-back, 4-yard pickups by first escaping a sack on third down and then rolling right on a fourth-down conversion.
Wallace, a former Arkansas State transfer from Pulaski, Tenn., was 27 of 41 for 272 yards and one touchdown. Meridian''s Hamp Glover had six catches for 79 yards.
Moore, a first-year performer from Bastrop, La., bolstered EMCC''s 232-yard team rushing attack with 202 yards on 23 attempts.
EMCC will travel to No. 6 Northwest Mississippi at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in a showdown of preseason North Division favorites.