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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: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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