They heard them roar.
The No. 5 East Mississippi Community College Lions mounted a 59-0 shutout over the East Central Community College Warriors on Thursday night in Scooba.
After the second blowout in two years, both coaches agreed the once heated, hard fought rivalry has faded for the time being.
"The rivalry is a regional rivalry and we don't play them ever year," EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens said. "We want to win every game, but you always want to against your neighbor. It's just kind of the way it is … but because we in different leagues, the rivalry isn't there."
"The rivalry isn't here," first year ECCC head coach Ken Karcher said.
Right out of the gates, East Mississippi proved to themselves, fans and the visitors why they are nationally ranked, controlling the ball almost entirely throughout the 60 minutes.
"We got some guys tired, which was good," Stephens said. "They need to see that, 'Hey, we need to work on our conditioning during the week, we got to set a better tempo during the week, so that we don't get tired."
As if not getting a chance on offensive wasn't bad enough for East Central, East Mississippi kept them on their toes with multiple scorers and capitalized on Warrior mistakes.
"They are a good football team," Karcher said. "We knew coming in if we made mistakes, it'd be ugly and they were much more physical than us … we have a long way to go. We knew that."
Just a year after a 51-7 Lions win, it only took them 46 minutes to surpass the 2012 output on their way to their sixth shutout, largest win margin, and tying the third largest win total of the Buddy Stephens era.
Lakenderic Thomas did the punching for the Lions, finishing the game with four touchdowns. He ended the night with 56 yards on 15 carries.
"We just put him in to run touchdowns, that's all," Stephens said. "He is a touchdown scoring machine."
By half time, the Lions had put 38-0 lead, scoring on five of eight offensive positions in the first half.
They opened with a touchdown 2:29 seconds after kickoff. Kameron Myers caught his first of two touchdowns in the half on a 30-yard pass from Dontreal Drew for a 7-0 lead.
Seven minutes later, the Lions scored six seconds apart. Lakendrick Thomas punched in a 1-yard touchdown and Christian Russell returned a 20-yard fumble for a three score lead, 21-0.
The second quarter almost duplicated the first. The Lions added touchdowns 16 seconds elapsed and with 4:38 left on the clock. Thomas ran in his second of the night, before Myers caught his second. Drew White pushed the score to 38-0 with a field goal at the first half buzz.
With the Lions continually scoring, the Warriors rarely found themselves on offense, but when the did were unable to convert first downs, ending the night with only six.
"You don't want that as a football team, you're not going to win many games doing that but that's where we are right now," Karcher said. "Just got to keep working, try to get better."
Something seemed to spark for East Central when Darrion Burnside caught an interception near the end zone and ran it out the 27-yard line with 52.5 left in the first half, but East Central quarterback Jacori Taylor instantly threw an interception of his own to end the cause.
The second half played out less dramatically, but the Warriors found themselves deeper in the hole by the fourth quarter. EMCC's Preseton Baker pushed the lead to 52-0 with a 4-yard run and 13:44 on the running clock. Thomas scored from the 1-yard line with 9:48 left for a his final touchdown of the night.
As a team, EMCC rushes for 312 yards, lead by Todd Mays with 120 on 14 carries. After sacks, ECCC rushed for only 47 yards. Martin Johnson ended the night with 20 carries for 58 yards rushing.
EMCC moves to 2-0 on the season, while ECCC drops to 0-2. In Week 3, ECCC will open it's home slate when they host Copiah-Lincoln, while EMCC welcomes Southwest Mississippi to Scooba. Both games are on Thursday at 7 p.m.
They heard them roar.
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