STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

East Mississippi wins NJCAA Football National Championship

The title is the second straight for the Lions while the program’s five championships have all come since 2011.

Posted: Nov 30, 2018 12:28 AM
Updated: Nov 30, 2018 12:29 AM

PITTSBURG, Kan. (WTVA/NJCAA) – The 2018 NJCAA eTeamSponsor Football National Championship game came down to a defensive struggle, but it was No. 1 East Mississippi who prevailed with a 10-9 victory over No. 2 Garden City on Thursday night at Carnie Smith Stadium on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

The title is the fifth in program history for the Lions.

In the first-ever NJCAA national championship event on live national television, East Mississippi used a second quarter fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Everitt Cunningham to pull away from Garden City. The lone touchdown for the Lions made the difference as the East Mississippi defense stopped a fourth quarter two-point conversion attempt by the Broncbusters to seal the victory.

Cunningham’s performance on the defensive front led to top honors as the sophomore was tabbed the eTeamSponsor Most Valuable Player. Along with Cunningham’s fumble recovery for a touchdown, the defensive lineman tallied eight tackles, one tackle for a loss, and a second fumble recovery.

East Mississippi head coach Buddy Stephens collected his fifth national championship as the Lions finished a perfect 12-0 on the year. Stephens’ overall record now sits at 110-13 with a winning percentage of .894, the best mark in NJCAA football history.

The title is the second straight for the Lions while the program’s five championships have all come since 2011.
Four of the Lions’ five titles have come with a perfect 12-0 record.
Garden City’s season-long effort of dominating the run game continued as the Broncbusters tallied 255 yards on the ground as Charles West ran for a game-high 114 and Dedrick Mills added 79 on 28 attempts.
Mills provided Garden City’s only touchdown, a one-yard run with 7:49 to play in the fourth quarter.
Josh Smith provided East Mississippi’s only other points with a first quarter field goal from 36 yards.
Aside from Mills’ touchdown run, Garden City’s scoring effort came from Ben Raybon with a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Defensive teammates Untareo Johnson and JaQuez Akins teamed up for the crucial two-point conversion stop late in the fourth quarter that all be clinched the victory for the Lions.
Messiah deWeaver completed 17-29 passes for East Mississippi.
Eriq Kitchen led the champions with a game-high 13 tackles, including 2.5 stops for a loss.
Deric Rucker led the defensive unit for Garden City with 10 total tackles and a forced fumble on the night.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15752

Reported Deaths: 739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18150

Reported Deaths: 644
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Columbus
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather