The East Mississippi Community College football team almost climbed back to the top of the junior college mountain this season.
Instead, the Lions finished second nationally in the final National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) rankings released Monday. It is EMCC's first final ranking of No. 2.
Under Buddy Stephens, EMCC won the NJCAA national championship in 2011, 2013, and 2014. The Lions have finished in the top 10 in seven of Stephens' nine seasons as coach at the school.
PERKINSTON -- The East Mississippi Community College football team only had one thing it could control Sunday.
No. 3 EMCC took care of its business Sunday with a 27-17 victory against No. 13 Kilgore (Texas) College 27-17 in the Mississippi Bowl on a blustery, overcast, damp Sunday afternoon at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.'s A.L. May Stadium.
The victory helped EMCC win its fourth Mississippi Bowl and likely secured it a No. 2 ranking when the final National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll is released today.
PERKINSTON -- East Mississippi Community College quarterback De'Andre Johnson grabbed some more hardware going out the door.
Johnson earned Most Valuable Player honors in EMCC's 27-17 victory against Kilgore (Texas) College on Sunday afternoon in the Mississippi Bowl at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.'s A.L. May Stadium.
The West Point High School football team's defense did just that Saturday, limiting Laurel to 98 yards in a 29-8 victory in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State championship game at a rain-soaked Davis Wade Stadium on the campus of Mississippi State University.
The East Mississippi Community College football team will have to settle for dominance in the state of Mississippi.
Cut out of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship picture, No. 3 EMCC will fight for a top-three finish when it plays No. 13 Kilgore (Texas) College at 2 p.m. today in the Mississippi Bowl at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.'s A.L. May Stadium in Perkinston.
SCOOBA -- Whether it has been in high school, senior college football or junior college football, former Starkville High standout Raphael Leonard has been all about making plays.
Leonard earned his name as an All-State wide receiver at Starkville High. A brief stint followed at Florida Atlantic. Now, he is racking up the honors as a standout wide receiver at East Mississippi Community College.
This is Cam Akers' final opportunity.
The Clinton High School senior, who many consider the state's top prep football player, will have a final chance to win a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state championship at 7 p.m. Friday when Clinton faces Pearl at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.
Holmes Community College sophomore running back Matt Fuller is a little freaked out about his team's next game.
"Never played in a dome," said Fuller, who prepped at Starkville High School. "I have to admit that freaks me out a little bit. It will be fun, exciting, and definitely something different."
The holidays always bring out feelings of good will.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men's basketball team had its first glimpse of life without leading scorer Quinndary Weatherspoon on Friday night.
It wasn't pretty.
Playing for the first time since the squad's leading scorer was announced out for the remainder of the season, MSU failed to string together enough defense stops in an 87-73 loss to Lehigh at Humphrey Coliseum.
Twenty-four high school football teams will have one extra reason to say thanks today.
JACKSON -- Columbus High School senior Chris Blair knows no one will feel sorry for his basketball team.
The Falcons have four new starters and a new head coach. They also have the added pressure of playing as the reigning Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A State champions. The first basketball state championship has set this squad up with one of the state's most difficult schedules.
When it came time for preseason football interviews, one could sense a different attitude in the West Point field house.
The Green Wave believed.
In the previous two seasons, West Point players and coaches talked about trying to get things back to championship level. This season, the answers were still cautious but way more determined. Instead of the Green Wave talking about what they would try to do, they talked about what they would do.
Now, West Point is two wins away from closing the deal.
WEST POINT -- West Point High School junior Chris Calvert always has enjoyed playing football.
However, his love of the game grew this season as he spent more and more time out of uniform.
In a 17-13 victory against Columbus, Calvert suffered a hit to the head. He was held out of the West Point lineup due to the concussion protocol until being cleared to play last week.
While the Ole Miss football team suffered a disappointing loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee, there is no time to be upset because rivalry week is here for the Rebels.
Ole Miss can clinch a fifth-straight bowl game under coach Hugh Freeze with a third-straight win against Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network) in the Battle for the Golden Egg at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
It was only a matter of time.
WEST POINT -- Starkville High School junior Blake Rogers enjoyed the game that he and his teammates played Thursday night.
BILOXI -- Dominique Dillingham told her teammates Wednesday night would be a good time for a fast start.
The No. 10 Mississippi State women's basketball team then delivered for its senior leader.
MSU found offensive balance early and used hard-nosed physical defense throughout a 66-49 victory against Tulane before a crowd of 1,724 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum.
Almost all prep football coaches enjoy practicing on Thanksgiving Day.
School isn't in session, so it usually involves a workout in the crisp, early morning air. After a couple of hours of work, teams usually will break and share a Thanksgiving meal. Booster clubs have been known to buy large numbers of turkeys to make the day complete.
East Mississippi Community College's season of redemption likely won't end with a national championship.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) announced the pairings for eight bowl games Tuesday. No. 3 EMCC (10-1) will face No. 13 Kilgore College (Texas) (6-4) at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in the Mississippi Bowl.
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