Meridian Star

November 26, 2012

Feature film introduces ‘Toughest football league in America’

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     SCOOBA – Scooba Tech has moved from the backwoods to the silver screen to the small screen.

    “Mississippi JUCO: The Toughest Football League In America” is available now on DVD at East Mississippi Community Colleges’ Scooba and Golden Triangle campus bookstores.

    “Mississippi JUCO” is the brainchild of the film’s executive producer X.M. Frascogna, a Jackson entertainment lawyer who became fascinated with the culture of Mississippi community college football while researching his 2010 book “Bull Cyclone Sullivan and the Lions of Scooba, Mississippi,” which chronicles the life of legendary 1960s-era EMCC football coach Bob Sullivan. Frascogna released the book “Mississippi JUCO” in 2011 and soon after partnered with six state community colleges to film the movie.

    Shot on each campus during game days, the feature-length documentary highlights the campus atmosphere, school history and on-field action at Hinds Community College, Pearl River Community College, Itawamba Community College, Copiah Lincoln Community College, Jones County Junior College and 2011 NJCAA football national champion East Mississippi Community College.

    Frascogna, whose writing credits also include “Gridiron Gold” and “Y’all vs. Us,” includes on-camera interviews with alumni of each school, administrators and those who know the story of each school and Mississippi JUCO football the best.

    “If you are not from Mississippi, you just won’t understand. The Mississippi JUCO League is the toughest football league in America,” says Mitch Williams, Fellowship of Christian Athletes director for the Pine Belt Region, in a scene from the film.

    According to his former players, EMCC’s Bull Sullivan, whose ascension to mythic status is featured prominently in the movie, was one of the primary figures responsible for shaping Mississippi’s reputation as the “toughest” league.

    “I don’t know about the country, but Scooba was the toughest in Mississippi,” said Carles McComb, who played for Sullivan in the 60s.

    “One year we were playing at Holmes Junior College and after warm-ups, just before the game, Coach Sullivan had us doing head-on tackling," McComb said. "He wouldn’t tell us which side was the ball carrier and which side was the defense. We just wound up in a big old pile. Our starting center got knocked out cold and couldn’t play.

    "The Holmes team was watching us, eyes the size of half-dollars. They were whipped right there. We beat them by probably 40 points.”

    Back in the present, the film features EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens speaking on the legacy and history associated with EMCC football, unaware the Lions were marching toward an eventual undefeated record and 2011 NJCAA football national championship.

     “Mississippi JUCO” is available for $12 at EMCC bookstores. For information on availability, call the Scooba campus bookstore at (662) 476-5147 or the Golden Triangle campus bookstore at (662) 243-1996.