Lions top Rangers in OT to win state title

Dontario Drummond led the way with 11 catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns (Photo by jucoweekly.org)
By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
DTL EDITOR

East Mississippi Community College won an offensive showdown in Senatobia on Saturday against Northwest Mississippi Community College to claim its sixth state title in nine years.

EMCC quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr.’s two-point pass conversion to Daniel Crowell Jr. in the second overtime gave the Lions a 67-66 road victory at Bobby Franklin Field.

The game featured seven lead changes and four ties, along with 1,302 combined yards of total offense and 70 first downs between the two teams.

The win represents EMCC’s sixth state championship in nine years under 10th-year head coach Buddy Stephens.

No. 1 EMCC earned an invitation to participate in December’s Mississippi Bowl and the win will most likely give the Lions a shot at playing for the school’s fourth NJCAA championship in seven years. 

GAME BREAKDOWN

The Rangers got on the board first with Kevin Perkins’ 4-yard scoring run at the 11:10 mark of the opening quarter. 

The Lions responded on the next drive with a seven-play, 81-yard romp that ended on Scott’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Dontario Drummond for their first of three scoring strikes on the day.

EMCC’s defense would then force a fumble that was recovered by Joseph Anderson deep in Ranger territory.  Following a 16-yard pass play to Drummond, Tyrell Price ran in from five yards out for his first of four scores – three on the ground and one through the air. 

The Rangers would respond with a 13-play, 72-yard drive that culminated with Drake McCarter’s 30-yard field goal to end the first-quarter scoring with the visitors on top, 14-10.

The two teams would exchange turnovers late in the first half to set up the final scoring heading into intermission.  After Scott fumbled in the red zone, EMCC linebacker Emanuel Bridges picked off Abraham’s pass to put EMCC in position for Crabtree’s successful 33-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Price plowed in from a yard out to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive to put the Lions up 30-17. 

The Rangers would fire back with a 12-play, 92-yard drive ending with Perkins’ 29-yard scoring run to make it a one-score game with 2:46 left in the period. 

The Lions would again answer on Brandon Rodgers’ ensuing 67-yard kickoff return, reclaiming their 13-point advantage on another 1-yard scoring run by Price with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter.

The fourth quarter would feature an explosive 43 points scored between the two teams, including another lead change and two ties.

The Rangers opened the quarter with an 18-yard scoring pass play from Abraham to Quarderman Sloan and their special teams unit stepped up by blocking Crabtree’s 36-yard field goal attempt at the 12:26 mark. 

The Rangers would then take the lead five plays with, 38-37, with Abraham’s 12-yard touchdown toss to Jerrick Orr.

Northwest’s Turner Rotenberry then picked off Scott for a 51-yard interception return to the end zone.  The pick six at the 9:08 mark gave the Rangers their biggest lead of the game at 45-37.       
                                          
EMCC would then go three-and-out on the next series, but the Lions’ defense stepped up.  A fumble recovery by EMCC at midfield open the door three plays later for a 44-yard catch and run from Scott to Price. 

The ensuing two-point pass conversion from Scott to Mike Williams knotted the score at 45-all with 4:27 remaining in regulation.

The offensive show persisted through final four minutes of regulation, with Abraham’s 7-yard scoring pass to JaVonta Payton at the 2:06 mark answered by Scott’s 9-yard touchdown toss to Drummond with just eight seconds left in regulation to set up two overtime periods tied at 52-all.

The Lions scored first in overtime with Crowell catching a pass from Scott and breaking tackles during a 19-yard scoring pass play. 

Northwest responded by tying the game for the fourth time on Perkins’ 11-yard touchdown run.

The Rangers immediately went on top, 66-59, to start the second overtime on Abraham’s 25-yard scoring pass to Orr. 

On a third-and-five play, EMCC responded with Scott and Drummond connecting on a 20-yard pass to pull the Lions to within a single point. 

Scott then found Crowell breaking open in the back left corner of the end zone for the game-winning, two-point conversion.    

The loss snapped Northwest’s 16-game home winning streak.

EMCC’s Scott accounted for 575 yards of total offense, five touchdown passes and a pair of two-point conversion completions.  The LSU transfer quarterback threw for 471 yards on 29-of-44 passing in addition to rushing for 104 net yards on 20 attempts. 

On the receiving end, Drummond led the way with 11 catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns.  Williams, a Georgia Southern transfer, added 107 receiving yards on four grabs, including one for 68 yards.                
 

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