Four-time national champion EMCC tops NJCAA preseason poll

EMCC Athletics

Five teams from Mississippi are in the top 20.

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 3:41 PM

SCOOBA, Miss. (WTVA/EMCC Athletics) – For the fifth time in the last seven years, East Mississippi Community College will kick off the upcoming football season as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Preseason Football Rankings, as selected by the NJCAA Football Committee and announced Wednesday by the recently relocated national office now headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

Dating back to their first of four national championships claimed during the past seven seasons, 11th-year head coach Buddy Stephens’ EMCC Lions have now been tabbed as the NJCAA’s top-ranked preseason football team each year following their national championship seasons of 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017. They also earned a third straight preseason No. 1 ranking by the NJCAA in 2016.

Including preseason and final rankings as determined by the NJCAA, EMCC has now been ranked in 93 consecutive NJCAA football polls dating back to the team’s initial national championship season in 2011. During the seven-year span heading into the upcoming season, the Lions have rated among the NJCAA’s top 10 teams in 73 of the last 78 regular-season polls, including 59 weeks ranked among the nation’s top five squads.

Since Stephens’ first year (2008) at the East Mississippi Community College football helm, the Lions have been represented in the NJCAA’s weekly football poll 88 percent of the time over the past 10 seasons combined. Included among EMCC’s 98 weeks (out of 111 total weeks) of being listed among the NJCAA’s football national rankings have been 84 weeks (76%) ranked among the top 10 and 62 weeks (56%) within the top five nationally.

While becoming the first member of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) to claim four national football championships, as recognized by the NJCAA, EMCC will enter this year’s slate having won 74 of its last 79 games spanning back to 2011. The Lions’ 74-5 record and 93.7 winning percentage over the last seven seasons includes separate winning streaks of 25, 20 and 17 consecutive games.

Beginning his second decade as head football coach of the EMCC Lions since being hired in December 2007, Stephens will begin this season ranked seventh nationally among the NJCAA’s winningest active football coaches. Two wins shy of the century mark with a decade-long head coaching record of 98-13, he 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 the four national championships, Stephens has also guided East Mississippi to six MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 titles and eight MACJC North Division regular-season crowns. EMCC currently trails only Butler (Kan.) and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for most national football championships (six each) in NJCAA history.

EMCC’s nine-game 2018 regular-season football schedule is set to kick off in two weeks on Thursday, Aug. 30 with a home game against the Hinds Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 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 versus Mississippi Delta a week later (Sept. 20).

This year’s NJCAA top five preseason teams are the same as last year’s season-ending national poll. Following reigning national and state champion EMCC atop the NJCAA rankings are Iowa Western at No. 2, third-ranked Arizona Western along with Snow (Utah) and Independence (Kan.) at fourth and fifth, respectively. Also representing the MACJC in this year’s NJCAA Preseason Top 10 are No. 6 Northwest Mississippi and ninth-ranked Jones County. MACJC foes Hinds and Itawamba follow in the NJCAA’s preseason rankings at tied for 13th and 16th, respectively, while Holmes and Mississippi Gulf Coast are included among other teams receiving votes.

The NJCAA Football Poll is conducted by a 17-member committee featuring a representative from each of the seven districts, two annually rotating at-large voters, and one representative from the seven conferences along with a representative from the independent schools in which the highest and lowest vote for each team is dropped. The first regular-season poll will be released Sept. 5.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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We continue to monitor a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be in heavy rainfall two locations across the southeast over the course of the weekend, and flooding rainfall could be in tow as well. Things are looking better for Father’s Day itself, thankfully.
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