Tigers Travel to Face Undefeated East Mississippi
Coahoma Community College will be headed into the proverbial Lion’s Den on Saturday both literally and figuratively when they play opposition to the East Mississippi Community College Lions. EMCC (4-0, 1-0) moved up two spots to No. 3 this week in the National Junior College Athletics Association’s (NJCAA) national rankings after delivering three-consecutive, lopsided, shutout victories in its last three games.
The Lions have outscored their opponents 247-6 so far this season while Coahoma is still searching for its first win of the season. It’s not the ideal situation for the Tigers to pickup their first victory of the season, especially with EMCC also celebrating it’s Homecoming Saturday.
“They are loaded with talent, I believe that they have seven Division I transfers on their defense alone,” said Coahoma Head Coach Freeman Horton. “We’re just going to limit our offensive scheme, and concentrate on doing those things well. (EMCC’s) offense has spent a lot of time on the field during their first four games because their defense has been able to keep the opposing offenses off the field. We can’t do that, we’ve got to move the ball offensively, and even if we don’t score each time, we’ve got pick up first downs and try to control the clock.”
While the Tigers have struggled to sustain drives offensively in its first four games, the Lions are tops in the NJCAA scoring an average of 62 points per game this season while allowing their opponents just 1.5 points. EMCC has given up just one touchdown this season in its opener against Pearl River – an eventual 49-6 victory.
“We’ve seen a few things on film that some of the other offenses had a little bit of success with,” said Horton. “We’re going to try and adjust some things offensively and try to stay on the field. Sometimes a high-powered offense like East Mississippi’s can get frustrated when they’re not able to get back on the field. We’ve got to limit their touches.
“Our kids are ready to battle and we will be going in confident.”
This will be the third ranked opponent the Tigers have faced in their first five games, with a fourth coming in a few weeks when CCC celebrates its own Homecoming Oct. 12 and faces the seventh-ranked Itawamba Indians. The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) currently has five colleges ranked in the NJCAA’s Top 10, and six teams in the Top 20, and is arguably the nation’s toughest conference.
Despite not breaking into the win column, Coahoma is still in decent shape in the MACJC’s Northern Division. Its last five remaining games are against North Division competition, and with Northwest Community College currently on probation and unable to participate in the postseason, upcoming games against Northeast Mississippi (Week 6), Itawamba (Week 7), Mississippi Delta (Week 8) and Holmes (Week 9) will be the deciding factors that determine whether or not the Tigers will get a playoff berth.
“Not that this week’s game doesn’t count, because it does and we’ve worked hard to get ready for it, but the final four games of the season are even more important for us,” Horton said. “Those games are all North Division games and will decide whether or not we will be able to make it into the playoffs.”