Northeast Tigers focused on first win

NEMCC photo Northeast Mississippi Community College quarterback Jerrard Randall (6) hands the ball off to running back Mitchell Cunningham (25). The duo combined for over 500 combined yards in the Tigers’ 34-28 loss to Jones County Junior College on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

NEMCC photo
Northeast Mississippi Community College quarterback Jerrard Randall (6) hands the ball off to running back Mitchell Cunningham (25). The duo combined for over 500 combined yards in the Tigers’ 34-28 loss to Jones County Junior College on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

By David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

The Northeast Community College Tigers football team has players on their 2013 roster that have won state championships at places like South Panola, Noxubee County and Lafayette.

Being 0-2 does not sit well with those players, nor with the rest of the team and coaching staff.

The Tigers have the opportunity to start their season over today, hosting the Holmes Bulldogs in a 6:30 p.m. kickoff in the MACJC North Division opener for both squads.

“Those guys are not used to losing,” Northeast head coach Ricky Smither said. “After this week of practice, I feel like the focus of the team is just to get in the win column.

“It’s not who they play, they just need to play well.”

The Tigers are coming off a second straight disappointing result, this time a 34-28 setback to Jones County last week, ranked No. 19 in the country by NJCAA. In its season opener, Northeast fell to defending state champion, No. 6 Copiah Lincoln 29-20.

Both were winnable contests for the Tigers.

“I thought the kids played well against Jones, we just made too many mistakes,” Smither said. “We had some 560 yards of total offense, but we turned the ball over five times.

“It’s hard to win like that.”

Stinson lauded

Smither applauded the effort of wide receiver Khalil Stinson from Georgia in the Jones contest, grabbing five passes for 127 yards. Also, quarterback Jerrard Randle shook off some rust by throwing for 348 yards in the game, and running back Mitchell Cunningham from North Pontotoc continued his steady play with 129 yards rushing.

Now Smither looks for the team to get in the win column against Holmes (0-2).

“They’re fast and explosive,” said Smither of Holmes. “We’re going to establish the run game, and we’re going to make some things happen.

Holmes lost last week 36-7 to No. 1 Gulf Coast, while losing Week 1 to Jones 54-14. Last season, Holmes defeated Northeast 34-14.