In improving to 2-1 overall on the season and 1-0 in division play, coach Buddy Stephens' squad rang up the most points scored by an EMCC team since a 57-28 home win over Coahoma during the 1995 campaign. The Lions' 38-point victory over Holmes marked their largest victory margin since shutting out Northeast Mississippi, 44-0, in Scooba during the 1999 season.
The Bulldogs, now 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play, got on the board first with Harry Collins scoring from three yards out with 5:43 left in the opening quarter. East Mississippi responded less than two minutes later to knot the score at 7-7 when freshman quarterback Randall Mackey of Bastrop (La.) High School capped a four-play drive with a 29-yard scoring run. A 21-point second quarter for the Lions began when Starkville's Pat Shed scored from 17 yards out at the 14:44 mark to give the visitors a 14-7 lead. Shed gained 91 of his game-high 145 rushing yards in the first half, in addition to being on the receiving end of a 21-yard scoring strike from Mackey with 3:00 minutes left in the half to put the Lions up by two touchdowns.
EMCC took a 28-7 advantage into the intermission after Meridian's Montrez Mosley blocked a Holmes punt and Jeremy Keys of Collins returned the miscue 15 yards into the end zone with less than two minutes left in the half.
The Lions' special teams came through once again at the start of the second half when All-Region 23 performer Leon Berry of Griffin, Ga., returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a score to put EMCC on top by a 35-7 margin. Holmes' final score of the evening followed two minutes later with Collins going in from 12 yards out. A 29-yard Phillip Dimino field goal and an eight-yard scoring toss from Mackey to Starkville's Mike Outlaw made the score, 45-14, heading into the final quarter. Entering the contest ranked second among the MACJC leaders in passing yards per game and third in passing efficiency, Mackey finished the night 15-of-21 with 167 yards through the air and two touchdown tosses.
With their second unit on the field for much of the fourth quarter, the Lions capped their offensive outburst with a 43-yard touchdown pass from former North Panola High School standout Perry Trammell to Bill Franks of Greene County High School at the 14:45 mark.
Defensively, EMCC's KyMario Cannon of West Point had his first interception of the year, while Starkville's Anthony Hines picked off his second pass on the season to give the Lions six interceptions as a team in three games.
East Mississippi will play its third consecutive road contest next Thursday (Sept. 18) by venturing to Perkinston to meet the second-ranked and reigning co-national champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs. Kickoff next Thursday at MGCCC is set for 7 p.m. at A.L. May Memorial Stadium. The Lions then return to Sullivan-Windham Field on the EMCC campus to play two straight home divisional contests by playing host to Northwest Mississippi on Thursday, Sept. 25 and taking on Coahoma during Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 4.