BILOXI — For the second time in three seasons, the East Mississippi Community College Lions are kings of the junior college world. No. 2 EMCC outlasted No. 1 Georgia Military College, 52-32, in the Mississippi Bowl to earn the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national championship Sunday night at Biloxi Indian Stadium.
“There was more relief with this one,” EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens said. “I felt like we had a very good football team. I felt like we had a better football team. We just knew we had to finish.”
Former Meridian High School standout Antionne Adkins earned Offensive MVP for EMCC, racking up 186 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. Jimmie Gipson III earned Defensive MVP.
Running back Lakenderic Thomas paced the Lions on the ground, carrying the ball 19 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns including one from 26 yards out to help EMCC pull away midway through the third quarter.
“I can’t believe it man, I’m just excited.” Thomas said. “The line did well and so did the whole team as a whole. We came out and did what we planned to do man.”
The game marks the first time a football national championship has been won on Mississippi soil.
“It means a lot,” Stephens said. “I think we represented the state of Mississippi very well. For us to do that, it means a lot to me. There is a lot of football coaches here from other schools. Some wanted to watch us win, some didn’t. But I think we represented the college very well today.”
EMCC (12-0) outscored opponents, 747-117 on the season and won each of its games by at least two possessions. After the game, Stephens said this team was the best he has ever coached.
“If this ain’t the best team ever, it’s certainly one of the best,” he said. “I think all the way around, we have a great group of kids.”