Meridian Star


December 8, 2013

Lions ready to roll on Gulf Coast

OCEAN SPRINGS —     The East Mississippi Lions are enjoying their stay on Mississippi's Gulf Coast in preparation for today's National Championship game against Georgia Military College at 2 p.m from Biloxi High School Stadium.

    On top of the pre-game festivities, EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens and several Lions players have a few different ways of getting hyped up for before the big game.

    EMCC wide receiver Justin Mack has spent the time relaxing with teammates in order to get himself ready.

    "Its been a good past two days in getting ready for the game. Its been a great time being able to spend it with teammates," Mack said. "Other than the cold weather it's been great."

    While the Lions have bonded together in the days leading up to the national championship, each member has a different way to prepare when game day arrives.

    Mack gets ready for games by listening to music.

    "Two of my favorite songs I listen to every game day would be Chief Keefs' Gotta Glo Up One day," he said. "The other song I like to listen to is Lil' Durks' This Ain't What You want."

    Quarterback Dontreal Pruitt likes to keep it simple.

    "I just try to get focused by getting to the field, making sure everything is right during the walk through," Pruitt said. "The big thing though is making sure I'm focused, and getting my teammates on the same page."

    For Allen Sentimore, who leads the NJCAA in interceptions this season, it’s all about reflection.

    "I like to think about where I would be if I didn't have this opportunity to play college football," he said. "I also get ready for the game by the environment of the different campuses across the state."

    Even Lion head coach Buddy Stephens has a game-day ritual he likes to do before games.

    "We have a team video that we have called ‘Inside the Pr1de,’" Stephens said. "The team expects to watch that video the day before the games, and it does a good job of getting everyone ready to go.

    The Lions enjoyed a Saturday lunch at Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant. Coincidentally, the owner of Aunt Jenny's is a former EMCC graduate, Ronnie Hamilton.

    "We feel like we are at home. We’re eating some good home cooking that's native to us," Stephens said. "Our guys enjoyed eating the catfish and chicken. We also found out while eating that Mr. Hamilton was a former Lion football player, who played for former Lion head coach A.J. Kilpatrick."

    After a flag football event with the Dream Program, an operation to develop athletic opportunities for people with disabilities, the team watched the SEC Championship game back at their hotel, the Biloxi Holiday Inn, and then enjoyed burgers from Five Guys and pizza.

    Stephens said he planed to address the team before the night was over, where he will encourage his players to block everything out except for the task at hand.

    “They need to get all the clutter out,” he said. “Don’t worry about friend, parents, girlfriends. Just concentrate on this game.”

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