Emcc announces 2017 football schedule sports meridianstar.com gas national average 2008

With their season opener slated for Thursday, Aug. 31 at home against Jones County, the Lions will be looking to avenge their lone loss from a year ago when a short-handed EMCC squad dropped a hard-fought 27-25 road decision to the Bobcats, Sept. 1 in Ellisville, despite fielding a limited roster consisting of only freshmen and incoming four-year transfers due to an MACJC-mandated suspension from the previous year. This year’s EMCC-JCJC rematch takes on increased significance because it will mark Buddy Stephens’ 100th career game as the Lions’ head football coach.

Entering his 10th year at East Mississippi, Stephens will kick off the upcoming football campaign with an impressive career win-loss record of 87-12 for a career winning percentage of .879, which includes three national championships, five state titles and eight division crowns. The current NJCAA all-time record for highest winning percentage among football coaches with at least 100 career games coached is .875 by former Butler (Kansas) Community College football coach Troy Morrell, who posted a 15-year (2000-14) coaching mark of 154-22 with the Grizzlies.

Along with chasing this national standard of coaching excellence, Stephens will also begin the 2017 season tied with Hall of Fame coaching legend Bob “Bull” Sullivan for the most football coaching wins in the history of East Mississippi Community College. Sullivan’s 16-year (1950-52 & 1956-68) head coaching record with the Lions was 87-71-4.

Following their season opener against Jones County, the Lions will stay at home to welcome perennial state powerhouse Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday, Sept. 7. Marking the Bulldogs’ first regular-season football visit to the Scooba campus since they helped kick off the “new” Sullivan-Windham Field era during the 2011 season opener. EMCC and Gulf Coast have met in Scooba during the MACJC state semifinals three of the last four years, including last year’s 27-24 EMCC win.

Week 3 of the regular season kicks off East Mississippi’s MACJC North Division schedule. Beginning with their Sept. 14 road game at Northeast Mississippi, the Lions’ division slate alternates between road and home dates for six weeks. As eight-time MACJC North Division football champions, including a current streak of six straight titles going back to the 2011 season, EMCC has put together a composite regular-season division mark of 51-3 and .944 winning percentage under Stephens’ guidance.

EMCC’s home division opener is set for Thursday, Sept. 21, against Itawamba, followed by a Sept. 28 road date with Mississippi Delta. The Lions’ October slate will begin with an Oct. 5 home meeting with Holmes and an Oct. 12 trip to Northwest Mississippi for a rematch of last year’s MACJC state championship game claimed by the Lions, 38-30, in Scooba.

Homecoming 2017 on the Scooba campus will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21, with the Coahoma Tigers providing the gridiron competition for the Lions. Along with honoring the school’s 2017 EMCC’s Sports Hall of Fame induction class during a Friday night banquet, the newest EMCC Sports Hall of Fame members will also be recognized during halftime festivities of Saturday’s 2 p.m. homecoming contest against Coahoma.

Following the completion of their division schedule, the 2017 EMCC Lions will conclude their nine-game, regular-season slate with a second straight Saturday contest (Oct. 28) by traveling to Hinds for a 2 p.m. kickoff. The regular-season finale will mark EMCC’s first visit to Raymond since claiming a 20-17 road win over the Eagles during the second week of the 2011 campaign.

The 2017 MACJC state football playoffs will begin on Saturday, Nov. 4, with semifinal-round action being hosted by the two division winners. The state championship game will be played the following Saturday (Nov. 11) at a site to be determined.