August 31, 2018 11:39:22 AM
Scott Walters - [email protected]
SCOOBA -- Deon McIntosh never envisioned playing in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC).
The Notre Dame transfer made his debut a memorable one by rushing for 84 yards and three touchdowns Thursday night to lead the No. 1 East Mississippi Community College football team to a 50-0 victory against No. 13 Hinds C.C. before a capacity crowd at Sullivan-Windham Field in the season opener for both teams.
"We all have a story," said McIntosh, who was a standout at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Our job is to come here and win games. We are a brotherhood and we are focused on winning. I think everybody wants to get right, play as a team, and find a way to win games."
McIntosh was one of the nation's top recruits after rushing for more than 2,000 yards in his career at Cardinal Gibbons High. A two-year stay at Notre Dame followed.
In June, McIntosh announced he was going to transfer to EMCC.
Coach Buddy Stephens has had a bevy of transfers with star power. The job is to blend players with different skills from all over the country as quickly as possible.
If the opener is any indication, these Lions might be blending ahead of the curve.
"It's the first game," Stephens said. "These guys do not understand the enormous amount of potential they possess. It's our job as coaches to help push them toward that potential. For the first game, yes, that went really well. Not a lot of people expected us to come in here and hang 50. That's a great football team we just beat."
For only the third time under Stephens, EMCC faced a ranked opponent in the season opener. A year ago, EMCC beat Hinds C.C. 51-41 to end the regular season before going on to win the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship.
The outcome in the opener was determined in the first nine minutes.
McIntosh capped a 14-play, 72-yard drive on the opening possession with an 8-yard score. On Hinds' first possession, EMCC recorded a safety when the ball sailed over the punter's head on fourth down.
EMCC then took the free kick 59 yards on five plays. Michigan State transfer Messiah deWeaver's 21-yard strike to former Noxubee County High standout Rashad Eades was the first of his four touchdowns.
By this time, Hinds had four run plays and EMCC had scored 16 points.
"That was fun," deWeaver said. "You never know what to expect from a first game, regardless of how many years you have played the sport. This was a good starting point. The coaches will bring us in and we will work on things and all that. But this was a good starting point."
deWeaver was 25 of 38 passes for 323 yards. He hit 13 receivers. The top target was Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. transfer Kalem Reddix, who had seven catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
"We prepare differently than anyone else," Eades said. "That's why some games go like this. Our preparation is the preparation of a championship team. You can learn how to play the game at a quicker pace and the little things that our offense teaches. You can't learn how to prepare. You have to be born with that desire to be the best."
EMCC built a 43-0 halftime lead and dodged one threat in the final half to preserve the 21st shutout in Stephens' 11 seasons.
The defensive players were quick to remind defensive coordinator Cliff Collins of a deal he made during fall camp if the squad delivered a shutout on opening night.
Hinds was held to 81 yards, a meager 1.9 yards per play.
"For game one, that was good," EMCC sophomore defensive back JaQuez Akins said. "Now, we have to come out and do it again next week."
n Itawamba C.C. 34, Pearl River C.C. 30: At Perkinston, the No. 16 Indians used a 4-yard touchdown run by De'Sean Dinkins with 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the game to rally for the victory in the season opener for both teams.
Dinkins also had a 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. William Lang's 30-yard field goal with 8:51 left in the game gave Pearl River a 30-27 lead.
ICC rallied after Pearl River scored 27 unanswered points in the second and third quarters.
Laderrick Bell scored on an 8-yard run in the first quarter. Hiram Wadlington scored on a 2-yard run and former Caledonia High quarterback Spencer Unruh hit Wadlington on a 45-yard scoring strike in the third quarter.
Former Caledonia High standout Caleb Comer was 4-for-5 on extra points.
ICC will play host to East Central C.C. at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Fulton.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott was sports editor for The Dispatch.