- EMCCC Quarterback Randall Mackey (1) leads his team against Arizona Western in the Mississippi Bowl Dec. 6.
No. 6 Arizona Western faces No. 5 East Mississippi in second annual event
No. 5 ranked East Mississippi Community College is headed to the 2009 Mississippi Bowl after defeating No. 3 ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 75-71 in the MACJC State Title game Nov. 7. The Lions (10-1) will take on No. 6 Arizona Western (9-1) Sunday Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at Biloxi Indian Stadium in the second annual event.
“We think we have a terrific matchup this season between East Mississippi and Arizona Western,” said Ladd Taylor, Mississippi Bowl Committee chairman. “East Mississippi is our state champion and Arizona Western comes in as a worthy opponent. The tradition of great matchups started last year between Gulf Coast and Georgia Military and continues this season.”
Featuring unblemished 6-0 MACJC North Division records each of the last two seasons, East Miss. has become the first junior college football program in Mississippi to post back-to-back unbeaten divisional marks since Northwest Mississippi registered three straight perfect North Division records from 1998-2000. The Lions are also the first MACJC North Division program to play in the state championship football game since Holmes claimed the 2002 state title.
In the wild 75-71 win over two-time defending MACJC State Champion Gulf Coast, Lions quarterback Randall Mackey, an NJCAA All-American, threw for 494 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 123 yards. Four of those scores went to wide receiver Lance Lewis, who added 136 receiving yards. The Lions also racked up 633 total yards of offense.
Arizona Western comes to Biloxi as champions of the Western States Football League. On Nov. 15, the Matadors went on the road and defeated Snow College 30-17 and snapped Snow’s 25-game conference winning streak. Az. Western is also riding a nine-game winning streak into the Ms. Bowl showdown with East Miss.
The Mississippi Bowl plays host to the Mississippi Community College/Junior College state champion and the highest ranked team in the nation. Three fun-filled days of local entertainment, food and football will welcome the teams and their families, friends and special guests.
South Mississippi automobile/RV dealers Barry Harper and Dub Herring are serving as co-title sponsors for the event. Harper, a Grenada native, played football at Delta State University from 1977-81 and currently owns Barry Harper Dodge and Harpertowne RVs in Poplarville. He also serves on the Pearl River Community College Board of Trustees.
Herring, also a well-known car and RV dealer, owns Dub Herring Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Dub Herring Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, and Paw Paw’s Camper City in Picayune. He also played football at Holmes Community College in Goodman. Harper spent 21 years working for Herring and is Herring’s son-in-law.
All revenues of this association are for the benefit of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation. The Mississippi Bowl payout for each team will be $10,000, compared to the $7,500 per-team payout from other bowl organizations.
Tickets to the game are $8 in advance, $10 on game day, and can be purchased by calling 601-928-6344 or via the event website, www.mississippibowl.com.
BY THE NUMBERS
ARIZONA WESTERN MATADORS
Head Coach: Tom Minnick (14-6 In 2 Seasons)
Record: 9-1, ranked No. 6 In NJCAA Poll.
Offense: Ranked No. 10 in NJCAA (430 ypg.)
Defense: Ranked No. 4 in NJCAA (194 ypg.)
Key Players/Offense: RB Reggie Bullock, 1,297 yds., 17 TD’s, QB Brandon Gorsuch, 1,632 yds., 13 TD’S, 4 INT
Key Players/Defense: LB Maurice Alexander, 74 tackles, 7 sacks, LB Zach Holmes 84 tackles, 5 sacks, DB Jerell Ramos, 3 INT
EAST MISSISSIPPI LIONS
Head Coach: Buddy Stephens (18-3 In 2 Seasons)
Record: 10-1, ranked No. 5 In NJCAA Poll
Offense: Ranked No. 4 In NJCAA (484 ypg.)
Defense: Ranked No. 34 In NJCAA (322 ypg.)
Key Players/Offense: QB Randall Mackey, (Passing) 3,574 yds., 36 TD’S, (Rushing) 530 yds., 5 TD’S, WR Lance Lewis, 875 yds., 15 TD’S
Key Players/Defense: DL Claude Davis, 67 tackles, 10.5 sacks, DB Anthony Hines, 7 INT