EMCC’s Lakendric Thomas breaks away from Hinds defenders during the 2012 season.

    After losing the last two games of the 2012 season in heartbreaking fashion, East Mississippi Community College will finally get its long-awaited fresh start in a mere 36 days.

    The Lions, who start the year ranked No. 6 in the JCGridiron.com Dirty 30, open their 2013 campaign on the road against Pearl River on Aug. 29. The game will pit the Lions up against former defensive coordinator William Jones, as the coach left the Lions to take the head coaching job at PRCC following the 2012 season.

    EMCC returns to Scooba on Sept. 5 where it will continue its annual rivalry with South Division foe, East Central. The following week, the Lions will host Southwest to wrap up their non-division schedule.

    The team begins division play on Sept. 19 at Mississippi Delta before hosting Coahoma on Saturday, Sept. 28 for homecoming.

    Next up for the Lions is a road contest at Holmes followed by a return to Scooba for a game against Northeast Mississippi. Last season, EMCC outscored the two teams a combined 84-0.

    The Lions first challenge appears to be on Oct. 17 when they travel to Senatobia to take on No. 21 ranked Northwest.

    The Lions pulled out a nail-biting win in last  season's contest, beating the Rangers, 56-49, at home.

    EMCC wraps up regular-season play at home on Oct. 24, as the Lions host an Itawamba team that snapped their 20-game win streak last season, 24-23,  on a late field goal.

    Itawamba is ranked No. 19 in the nation and is projected to be EMCC’s biggest challenger in repeating for a third-straight MACJC North championship.

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