NEMCC takes unbeaten record into Holmes matchup

Northeast Mississippi Community College’s football team will take its unbeaten record and a fresh number 19 national ranking into its matchup with Holmes Community College on Thursday, September 22.
Northeast (3-0, 1-0 in North Division) picked up 12 votes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Top 20 Poll and entered as the number 19 team in the country when the NJCAA released the results late Tuesday.
Northeast is also one of only two undefeated teams left in the Magnolia State with the Tigers and East Mississippi being the only two squads out of 14 sporting unblemished records at this point.
Northeast and East Mississippi both have identical records and are tied atop the North Division along with Holmes, which is 1-0 in the division while five teams in the South Division sport 2-1 marks.
Holmes enters the contest 1-2 on the year and picked up its first win and division win of the year when the Bulldogs decided to chance a win against Coahoma last week (September 15) when Holmes went for the two-point conversion and the win instead of a tie and overtime with seven seconds left in the game.
Northeast will carry the state’s top ranked defense into the matchup with Holmes as Jeff Carter’s crew has allowed just four touchdowns all season and limits opponents to just 185 yards per game.
Holmes’ defense lands in the middle of the pack in the 14-team Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) with the Bulldogs allowing 337 yards per game.
Northeast is fourth in both rushing and passing defense with the Tiger yielding just one touchdown on the ground during the first three games of the season and holding opponents to just 90 yards rushing. The Tigers have turned in about the same performance through the air with opponents only averaging 95 yards a game.
Linebacker Eli Canton (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) and defensive back Devin Lindsey (Baldwyn)lead the potent Tiger defense. Canton has 22 tackles on the season (15 solos and seven assists) while Lindsey is one behind Canton with 21 total stops on the year.
Canton helped the Tigers overcome Mississippi Delta last week 16-3 when the Tiger sophomore had 10 unassisted stops, three tackles for loss resulting in 20 yards including a seven-yard sack against the Trojans.
Lindsey was strong in the Tigers first win of the year when the Baldwyn product pilfered a pair of East Central passes and helped set Northeast up for the 40-27 win. Lindsey also had a fumble recovery for a touchdown and six tackles to go along with his pair of picks against the Warriors.
Lindsey’s pair of interceptions has the Tiger sophomore tied for fourth in the state in interceptions while Frankie Lee (Charleston) also has two picks for the Tigers – one against East Central and one against Southwest.
Northeast’s special teams will also play a pilotable role in the Tigers meeting with the Bulldogs. Place kicker Taylor Earhart (Olive Branch) is fourth in the statewith 20 points on the season and leads the Tigers in scoring. Earhart has connected on 8-of-10 extra points on the year and knocked through four of his seven field goal attempts during the first three games of the year.
Punter Jonathan Harrison (Belmont) is averaging 37.2 yards a punt with a long of 50 in his 15 punts on the season.
Deion Belue (Tuscumbia, Ala.) has electrified the crowd when the Tiger sophomore has touched the ball with a 28.5 yards per return average and has a 53-yard return in the books during the 2011 season.
Northeast’s offense led by Parks Frazier of Corinth averages 255 yards per game – 130 yards on the ground – and has tallied nine times on the season. The Tiger offense set a new school record for points in its first two games with 72 eclipsing Bill Ward’s 1981 squad that had 69 points in its first two games.
With the win against Mississippi Delta, head coach Ricky Smither bypassed Bobby Hall (2001-02) and Charles Borde (1952-54) on the all-time coaching wins list and is now tied with Doug Hamley (1950-51). Smither sits just two wins away from tying Horace McColl (1955-56) and entering into the top five for all-time coaching wins at Northeast.