The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program is wrapping up the non-division portion of its schedule with the longest road trip of the entire season.
The Tigers must travel nearly 300 miles and five hours to meet Southwest Mississippi Community College on Thursday, September 22. Kickoff between Northeast and the Bears is slated for 7 p.m. at John I. Hurst Stadium.
Those that cannot go on the road with the Tigers can watch the contest live and in high definition on NEMCCTV. Tune in starting at 6:30 p.m. for the pregame show by visiting www.nemcctv.com on any computer, smartphone or tablet.
The Northeast Broadcasting Network also includes Booneville based radio station WBIP. An audio simulcast featuring Jody Presley and Carter Smith, the Voices of the Tigers, can be heard on 99.7 FM and AM 14000 on your digital dial.
Search and follow @NEMCCTigers on Twitter for live in-game updates and interact during the contest by using the hashtag #TigerPower across all social media platforms.
The Tigers are seeking to rebound after their first loss of the year at nationally ranked East Mississippi Community College. Northeast head coach Greg Davis noted his squad has already bounced back and looked sharp during practices this week.
“They’ve really been upbeat and positive all week,” said Davis. “This team is just forcible. They just keep coming and competing. Our main focus is staying healthy and getting ready to play.”
The Tigers (2-1) have playmakers across both sides of the pigskin that rank among the best players at their respective positions in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Mason Cunningham of Shelbyville, Tenn., directs Northeast’s offense from behind center. He leads the Magnolia State and is sixth in the country with 59 completions to go with 629 yards and four touchdowns.
Water Valley native L.J. Hawkins has already exceeded the catch totals from his freshman campaign with the Tigers. He has 23 receptions through three games, which is second best in the state and fourth in the NJCAA.
Sevier County (Tenn.) High School graduate Dorian Banks has toted the workload for Northeast’s running backs. His 55 carries are third most in the MACJC and among the top 20 in the country.
Demarcus Rogers from Tupelo has remained a steady force for the Tigers’ defense. The reigning MACJC All-State selection is recording 11.3 tackles per game, which is second highest in the conference and tied for 11th overall nationally.
Northeast also has a weapon on special teams in punter Bailey Walker. The Lake Cormorant High School alumnus comes in at second in the NJCAA with a stellar 46 yards per boot.
The Tigers as a team are fourth countrywide in time of possession at 32:19, 10th with a 71 percent conversion rate on fourth down, 12th at 22.7 first downs per game, and 25th with 216.7 passing yards each matchup.
Southwest features a balanced offense with near identical marks of 163.7 passing yards and 161.3 rushing yards per contest. The Bears average 14.7 points, but were shutout in their previous outing versus Hinds Community College.
Neil McLaurin is a dual threat quarterback for Southwest (1-2) that has thrown for a team-high 332 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also has the second most rushing attempts with 29 and one score.
Trey Flemin and Ravian Pierce are frequently targeted by the Bears’ signal callers. The sophomore combination has accumulated over 30 catches for 255 yards so far this season.
Duke Dantzler guide Southwest’s defense from the line with 26 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery. Michael Ware follows him closely with 24 stops, including 18 that are unassisted.
“They’re very similar offensively to us in what they do,” Davis said. “They do a lot of different things. We can’t give up the big play because that’s how they’ve scored all season long.”
It is the first meeting between these two institutions on the gridiron in five years. Northeast won the last matchup by a score of 32-9 on September 8, 2011, but the Bears lead the all-time series by a 14-12-1 margin.