Playoff berth still on the table for Tigers

Jeremy Cannon doesn’t feel like he plays for a 2-5 team.
Instead, Northeast Community College’s star tailback feels like he’s part of something special.
And if the season’s final two weeks go as planned, he’ll be right.
“We might be 2-5 in the record book, but that’s not how we’re going about our business,” Cannon said. “We still have a shot at making the playoffs. That would mean the world to me.”
With just two games remaining in the 2009 regular season, Cannon and the rest of the Tigers are part of a three-way logjam at 2-2 in north division play, tied with north rivals Northwest and Coahoma for the No. 2 spot in the MACJC playoff race.
Conveniently, those two rivals are the two teams remaining on Northeast’s schedule, starting with a visit from Coahoma tonight in Booneville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Cannon, the state’s second-leading rusher at 125 yards per game, is a major part of Northeast’s move from winless a season ago to division contender this year. A versatile tailback from New Albany, Cannon has been a game-changer for the Tigers, who rank fourth in the MACJC in rushing offense.
For Cannon, though, all that comes secondary to Northeast’s possible postseason bid.
“It would mean a lot to me, personally,” Cannon said. “I was 3-8 in my senior year in high school and then we didn’t win a game last year, so to even have a shot at this point just shows how far we’ve come. I believe in my guys and this team, and I know we can get there.”
To do that, Cannon and the Tigers will have to take down difficult opponents in consecutive weeks, starting with Coahoma tonight.
The visitors from Clarksdale, who can claim the north’s final postseason berth with a win tonight by virtue of last week’s 41-36 win over Northwest, follow the lead of sophomore QB Garrick Jones, the state’s fifth-leading passer.
At 4-3 overall, Coahoma would seem to have an edge over the 2-5 Tigers, who enter tonight’s showdown on the heels of a 48-10 pounding at the hands of East Mississippi, which clinched the north division for the second-straight year.
For Cannon, everything that has happened prior to the Tigers’ late-season playoff push in inconsequential.
“I know we’ve struggled lately but that’s not us,” Cannon said. “We are a much better football team than that and we’ve still got a chance to do something big. That’s what we’re focused on. We want to make a statement that Northeast can do big things in football.”

Big test for ICC
At 2-5 overall and 1-3 in division play, ICC will one of its toughest tests of the seasn when East Mississippi visits Fulton Saturday.
Last season, East Mississippi clinched its first-ever north division championship with a 41-34 win over ICC. This year, the Lions have already repeated that feat before Saturday’s 2 p.m. matchup in Fulton.
This year, the Indians are just hoping to finish the season with a little momentum after dropping five of their last six.

Brandon Walker/NEMS Daily Journal