From tradition to tradition, West Point players expect to keep winning at EMCC

Everitt Cunningham, from left, Jason Brownlee, Terence Cherry, Tray Brownlee and De'Marrio Edwards are the West Point High School players that are on the East Mississippi Community College roster this season.
By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

Everitt Cunningham certainly has some stories to tell.

As one of the sophomore members of the East Mississippi Community College defensive line, Cunningham can share what the experiences was like winning the national championship to some of the younger players in the program.

Cunningham came out of West Point High School and made quite an impression for the Lions last season. He knows there doesn't need to be any drop off in 2018.

"Going into the second year, I'm held to higher expectations," Cunningham said. "I've got to lead the team and defensive line. Coming in as a freshman, I got a great amount of playing time and time on the field. This year we are just focused on being a big group of family, going out there and playing ball."

Cunningham had 31 tackles with three sacks, eight tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for EMCC last season.

Since Cunningham is one of the returning sack leaders of the Lions, it's important to defensive coordinator Cliff Collins to get as much input from him as possible.

"I tell him to take the younger guys like Terence (Cherry) and the other guys, help them understand what they are faced with and they are at the best junior college in the country," Collins said. "They have to perform every play, there are no plays off and we have to play as hard as we can on every play. It's just an opportunity for him to lead those guys in the right direction, make sure they go to class and do what they are supposed to do."

Collins said Cunningham is on schedule to graduate in December and was part of the 3.0 grade point average group that helped the program win the national academic award.

"He's the type of guy that you want to tell your guys to follow," Collins said.

After being the only West Point player on last year's roster, four more have joined him this season in defensive lineman Terence Cherry, wide receiver De'Marrio Edwards, wide receiver Jason Brownlee, and defensive back Tray Brownlee.

"We had to come together reunite and help bring another national championship to EMCC," Cunningham said about getting additional Green Wave in Scooba.

Edwards was at EMCC, but redshirted last season.

After getting adjusted to the game, Edwards saw the redshirt as a blessing.

"It gave me time to get bigger, faster, learn the playbook and learn more about the game of football," Edwards said. "College is a different speed. Me catching on was hard at first, but I've have caught on with the speed and just adapted."

The incoming freshmen from West Point know what it's like to be champions. The Green Wave are coming off back-to-back state championships.

They are ready to keep the tradition rolling with the Lions.

"I feel confident around this bunch," Cherry said. "I need some more rings in my box. I think we are a pretty good team and a better team."

Jason Brownlee has enjoyed his experience at EMCC already and said the ingredients are in place for success.

"When you have great players like that you are expected to do great things," Jason Brownlee said.

Tray Brownlee said there is only one way to make sure the Lions keep winning.

He said the Green Wave representatives on the team are going to make sure to make it happen.

"We've just got to work hard and get better every day," Tray Brownlee said. "Both (EMCC and West Point) have the same motto and go hard at everything you do if you want to get a ring."

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