SCOOBA, Miss. (WTVA/EMCC Athletics) - The four-time national champion Lions of East Mississippi Community College have collected their second No. 1 ranking of the preseason after garnering the nation’s top spot in the College Football America 2018 Yearbook Juco Top 30.
The reigning junior college national champions previously earned a No. 1 preseason ranking by Street & Smith’s 2018 College Football preview magazine. Coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions have also been tabbed No. 2 nationally in this year’s JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Preseason Rankings behind Iowa Western Community College.
Likewise for the Street & Smith’s and JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 preseason rankings, the College Football America Yearbook considered all 134 of the nation’s two-year schools that feature football programs. All three preseason polls took into account the 66 junior colleges affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) that currently compete in football as well as the 68 competing members of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA).
Following top-ranked East Mississippi, College Football America rated two-time reigning CCCAA state champion Fullerton College second nationally ahead of Iowa Western at No. 3. Arizona Western College and American River College (CA) rounded out the publication’s Top 5 at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Also representing the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) in the College Football America 2018 Yearbook Preseason Juco Top 30 are 2017 MACJC state runner-up Northwest Mississippi (#7), Jones County (#16) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (#28).
The College Football America 2018 Yearbook features more than 930 college football teams from the United States and Canada, including every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). The print edition is available online via Amazon.com and other major retailers, such as Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. Additionally, an iBooks version for iPads and iPhones is available through Apple’s iTunes bookstore and the iBooks app. A Kindle version of the book is also available.
Beginning his 11th season as head football coach of the EMCC Lions, Stephens will enter the upcoming 2018 campaign needing two wins to eclipse the century mark for career coaching victories while breaking into the NJCAA’s Top 10 list among the winningest active football coaches. With a decade-long head coaching record of 98-13, Stephens presently ranks as the NJCAA’s all-time leader in career winning percentage (.883) for coaches with at least 100 career games coached. Along with claiming four national championships over the last seven seasons (2011, ’13, ’14 & ’17), Stephens’ Lions have also secured six MACJC/Region 23 titles and eight MACJC North Division regular-season crowns.
EMCC’s nine-game, regular-season 2018 football schedule is set to kick off with an Aug. 30 home game versus Hinds at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus. Following a non-division road outing at Pearl River on Sept. 6, the Lions’ six-game MACJC North Division slate begins with a Sept. 13 road trip to Itawamba and a home contest against Mississippi Delta a week later (Sept. 20).