Co-Lin hosting East Mississippi in MACJC State Finals
WESSON – The 2014 state community college football season culminates in Wesson on Saturday as No. 10 Copiah-Lincoln hosts No. 2 East Mississippi for the MACJC state championship.
The game is a rematch of a regular season contest that saw the Lions top Co-Lin 46-10 in Scooba on Sept. 4. East Mississippi took control of that game in the second quarter by outscoring Co-Lin 17-0 in the period. The Lions led 31-7 at halftime. East Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 14-of-27 passing.
Turnovers and special team miscues were a huge part of the problem for Co-Lin in their first matchup with East Mississippi. The Wolfpack fumbled an early punt that led to a Lion score. Co-Lin quarterback Daniel Fitzwater had one interception and struggled to find comfort in the pocket against a strong Lion pass rush. East Mississippi kick returner DJ Law was the MVP of the game, returning four kicks for an average of 47.2 yards per return. Hardcore football fans might recognize Law, as he made headlines in February on signing day after faxing in a signed letter of intent to Utah and to Ole Miss as well.
Co-Lin arrives in the championship game after defeating Northwest 44-30 in the semifinals. The Wolfpack trailed 20-16 at halftime and 30-23 after three quarters. Co-Lin tied the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Fitzwater to Courtney Foy, took the lead on a 12-yard Lakedric Lee TD run, and iced the game when De’Lance Turner turned a screen pass into a 71-yard touchdown dash. The Co-Lin defense was led by Mississippi State commit Johnathan Calvin who posted four tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, and one quarterback hurry from his defensive line position. Lashard Durr and Dy-Celious Reese each had an interception apiece for Co-Lin. It was the third interception of the season for Reese and the second for Durr.
The Co-Lin players and coaches craved a rematch with East Mississippi after taking the humbling loss, but knew they would have much work to do to get there. Now, after a seven game winning streak, the Wolfpack will get another shot at the defending national champs.
East Mississippi has won 22 games in a row has outscored their opponents 557-59 this season. The Lions enter the championship game after a 42-21 win over Gulf Coast on Saturday. Gulf Coast held a 14-0 first half lead before East Mississippi scored 35 points in a row to take control of the game.
Co-Lin has not had much luck in hosting the state championship of late, losing to Pearl River in 2006 and Gulf Coast in 2010. Co-Lin is 2-0 against East Mississippi in recent playoff matchups, beating the Lions in Wesson in 2006 and in Scooba in 2012.
Kickoff in Stone Stadium is 3:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Co-Lin students get in free with their student ID. The game can be heard on 104.3 in Brookhaven and will be video streamed live at colinathletics.com