Lindsey Scott Jr. scrambles for room to throw in the East Mississippi Community College football team’s game against Jones County Junior College on Thursday in Scooba. Scott Jr., a transfer from LSU, threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-34 season-opening victory. Photo by: Jason Dyess/Special to The Dispatch Buy this photo.
September 6, 2017 11:42:50 AM
SCOOBA -- On some nights, the standout running back for the East Mississippi Community College football team is along for the ride.
EMCC prefers to throw the ball all over the field. The Lions have built a national-championship pedigree with standout quarterbacks and a bevy of talented receivers in a hurry-up offensive scheme.
That hasn't kept sophomore running back Tyrell Price from working hard on his game.
The former Lafayette High School standout will be the main threat out of the backfield when No. 2 EMCC (1-0) plays host to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (1-0) at 7 Thursday night in Scooba.
"The running back may be the most under-appreciated position on our team," Price said. "It is also means you can surprise some people. They aren't expecting you to have a major impact on the game. You can sneak up on some people. When the passing game gets going, it makes it easier to hit the other team with some big runs."
In the season opener, EMCC rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Jones County Junior College, 47-34. In his EMCC debut, LSU transfer Lindsey Scott Jr. threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns. Scott found his comfort level in the second half as EMCC erased a 28-14 deficit midway through the third quarter.
In his first game as a full-time starter, Price ran for 70 yards and a touchdown.
EMCC's 601-yard night included 429 yards through the air and 172 on the ground.
"(Scott) was really great, especially considering he had only been on our team for two weeks," Price said. "Our offense is the complete package, always has been. We have some receivers who can make some great catches. Both (Scott) and (quarterback Timorrius Conner) are great leaders. We plan to put up some points this season."
Last season, EMCC averaged 229.3 yards rushing per game. Roughly one-third of those yards came from quarterback De'Andre Johnson. Scott and Conner present similar dual-threat challenges for defenses.
Price learned how to become a junior college player from former teammate running backs Jacquez Horsley and Isaiah Wright. Both were sophomores last season. Price finished fourth on the team in rushing with 393 yards and six touchdowns.
"Jacquez and Isaiah taught me so much last season," Price said. "It's a big adjustment. The main thing is speed of the game. It's a big challenge to adapt. The coaches make you feel right at home. It's easy to play in this offense because you know you are going to get your chances."
Price is working with new running backs coach Courtland Hays this season. Rodriguez Moore is a graduate assistant on this year's team. Moore was a 1,000-yard rusher on EMCC's 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship team.
"The running back is so important in our offense," Stephens said. "If we can get up there in that 1,000-yard range, those are the types of backs the championship teams had. Tyrell did a great job during the offseason of working on his complete game. This is the pay-off year, and he wants to be a huge part of our offense."
While EMCC prefers to throw the ball, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. will bring what is traditionally the state's best rushing attack to town. The Bulldogs ran for 412 yards in a season-opening 42-41 victory against Itawamba C.C.
A year ago, EMCC won both meetings. The Lions won 45-7 in the regular season and then took a 27-24 win in the playoffs.
Former Columbus High standout Derrick Beckom is a freshman defensive back for the Bulldogs. He had a team-high 10 tackles against ICC.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
1. Starkville Academy beats Heritage Academy to reach title game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. MSU baseball team bounces back, beats Jackson State COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU baseball team focused on moving forward COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Ranked tests await MSU softball team COLLEGE SPORTS