The Meridian Star
Mississippi take note –– the Lions are back and they’re hungry for redemption.
After ending last season with back-to-back losses, East Mississippi Community College started the 2013 season with a bang, blowing out Pearl River 49-6 on the road on Thursday night.
“Any time we start a season, we are hungry,” EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens said. “We are tired of beating on each other in practice, so it was a good win for us. We were really excited about being able to come out and produce.”
A muffed punt return by Pearl River on its own 16-yard line gave the Lions their first scoring opportunity. Three plays later on third and 10, quarterback Dontreal Pruitt made the Wildcats pay, as he found former Meridian High School standout Antoinne Adkins in the back of the end zone to put the Lions up 7-0.
The game was Adkins first time back on the field since tearing his ACL prior to the 2012 season. He finished the night with four receptions for 60 yards and the touchdown.
“It felt great to get back out there and contribute,” Adkins said. “It’s just really great to be back out here.”
The touchdown would be one of three first-quarter scores for Pruitt, as he later found Brandon Bell from 25 yards out before connecting with Kameron Myers for a 19-yard screen pass to give EMCC a commanding, 21-0, lead to end the quarter.
Pruitt then found C.J. Bates on a 60-yard pass in the second quarter to put the Lions up, 28-0. Pruitt finished the day 21 for 33 passing for 260 yards and four touchdowns.
“It gave me confidence to start fast,” Pruitt said. “I’m not going to lie, it gave our team confidence and our offense confidence. This is my first time starting here. I had to put some confidence in my guys, and they put some confidence in me.”
EMCC would get one more score before the half, as A.J. Stamps intercepted a ball in the end zone and returned it 103 yards for a score to put the Lions up 35-0.
After a Pearl River touchdown in the third quarter, Bates would continue the scoring for EMCC, returning a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. The Lions would add another touchdown from Preston Baker to make the score 49-6 as time ran out in regulation.
Bates led the Lions in receiving yards with four catches for 78 yards, while Terrence Barron led in receptions with five for 46 yards. Lakendric Thomas led the Lions on the ground with 12 carries for 46 yards.
EMCC will host East Central Community College on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“We have to clean up a lot of stuff, but that’s the first game,” Stephens said. “They say you improve more from the first to the second, I hope we do that.”