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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: 484675

Reported Deaths: 9480
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33151493
Hinds31184589
DeSoto30803365
Jackson23735349
Rankin21390373
Lee14963221
Madison14206272
Jones13430227
Forrest13199241
Lauderdale11623307
Lowndes10501176
Lamar10258130
Pearl River9151221
Lafayette8268137
Hancock7534113
Washington7144152
Oktibbeha6989124
Monroe6533167
Neshoba6489201
Warren6486166
Pontotoc632993
Panola6278127
Marshall6165126
Bolivar6129145
Union576089
Pike5626138
Alcorn540590
Lincoln5310132
George473572
Scott461596
Leflore4495140
Tippah448180
Prentiss447979
Itawamba4457100
Adams4429117
Tate4420103
Wayne434667
Simpson4339114
Copiah432988
Yazoo423686
Covington417192
Sunflower4155104
Marion4111104
Coahoma3986100
Leake398286
Newton372375
Grenada3565104
Stone351360
Tishomingo338389
Attala325987
Jasper316062
Winston305691
Clay297374
Chickasaw287866
Clarke283290
Calhoun267741
Holmes262887
Smith252249
Yalobusha224347
Tallahatchie221150
Walthall211758
Greene209945
Lawrence207034
Perry201054
Amite199452
Webster196942
Noxubee179339
Montgomery172954
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162537
Tunica154235
Benton143035
Kemper138840
Choctaw128826
Claiborne127134
Humphreys127038
Franklin116928
Quitman104227
Wilkinson102036
Jefferson91533
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 790648

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1117431765
Mobile709021237
Madison50032633
Shelby36350315
Baldwin36278495
Tuscaloosa34034548
Montgomery33229678
Lee22712220
Calhoun21297410
Morgan19852335
Etowah19341462
Marshall17716274
Houston16862386
St. Clair15479305
Cullman14659258
Limestone14609188
Elmore14507264
Lauderdale13557281
Talladega13015236
DeKalb12214237
Walker10604330
Blount9735157
Autauga9691137
Jackson9400158
Coffee8934175
Dale8631173
Colbert8545184
Tallapoosa6688181
Escambia6599121
Covington6466167
Chilton6395144
Russell608755
Franklin5805101
Chambers5425134
Marion4818120
Dallas4713189
Clarke464079
Pike463297
Geneva4433117
Winston427395
Lawrence4124108
Bibb410281
Barbour347470
Marengo326485
Monroe320253
Butler318490
Randolph306656
Pickens306474
Henry302658
Hale293085
Cherokee290855
Fayette280373
Washington245548
Crenshaw238770
Cleburne236751
Clay229265
Macon220658
Lamar200443
Conecuh182046
Coosa170835
Lowndes170858
Wilcox159736
Bullock149543
Perry136537
Sumter124736
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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Little bits and pieces of low pressure move back into our area over the next several days. This will bring back into our weather forecast some more chances for some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms.
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