Goodman, Miss. - The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program is set to delve deeper into conference play and begin a pivotal two-game stretch away from its home venue.
The Tigers visit Holmes Community College for their first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division road game of the season on Thursday, September 20. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Ras Branch Stadium.
Those that cannot attend the matchup can watch it live and in high definition on NEMCCTV. Tune in starting at 6 p.m. for the pregame show by visiting www.nemcctv.com on any computer, smartphone or tablet.
The Northeast Broadcasting Network also includes radio affiliate WOWL Fun 91. An audio simulcast featuring Jody Presley and Carter Smith, the Voices of the Tigers, can be heard on frequencies 91.9 FM from Burnsville, 92.9 FM from Florence, Ala., and 102.3 FM from Killen, Ala.
Northeast and the Bulldogs competed in a thrilling back-and-forth affair last season in Goodman. The Tigers eventually lost a heartbreaker 51-49 during their only weekend matchup of the entire campaign.
The two teams feature almost entirely new offensive personnel compared to one year ago. The lone player back for Northeast that took the field against Holmes was O.D. Wooten, who had six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in that game.
Hernando's Wooten is tied with Northwest Rankin High School alumnus Montel Gladney for the most receptions so far this year with 11. One of Gladney's former prep teammates, Carson Banks, has the most yards amongst the Tigers' wideouts at 114.
Six different receivers have caught a touchdown from Northeast's quarterbacks, including lengthy catch-and-runs one week ago by Kortlon Hubbard of Jackson and Banks during a victory over Coahoma Community College.
The Tigers' strength has been their defense at this point of the campaign. Northeast is limiting its opponents to just 227.3 yards per game, which ranks as the ninth best mark in the entire country and is tops in the MACJC.
Northeast (1-2, 1-0) has been especially good at reeking havoc in the backfield. The Tigers boast two of the top five players in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in both sacks and tackles for loss.
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) commit Sam Williams guides that effort for Northeast. He leads the Magnolia State and is tied for second nationally in both tackles for loss with 11 and sacks at 6.5.
Campbell (N.C.) University transfer Emmanuel Olenga follows closely with nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Those figures rank second in the MACJC behind only his fellow defensive end in Williams.
University of Houston (Texas) commitment Terrance Edgeston paces the Tigers with 30 takedowns overall. Northeast as a team has forced four turnovers and made a sensational 40 tackles for loss.
"Our defense is phenomenal and they're keeping us in games," said Northeast head coach Greg Davis. "We feel confident with the defense. Now we've got to get everything going in the right direction at the same time. You saw glimpses last week offensively. It's the little things that make the difference."
This is the MACJC North Division opener for Holmes, which wrapped up its non-conference slate at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College last week. The Bulldogs at No. 18 are the first nationally ranked foe that the Tigers have faced this year.
Holmes (2-1, 0-0) once again features an option-based offense. Darius May is the leading rusher for the Bulldogs with 184 yards while quarterback Jesse Wilson is 18 of 32 through the air for 311 yards.
The Bulldogs have the most sacks in the state with 14. Tyshauwn White and Luke Wilson are tied for the highest amount of quarterback takedowns on their squad with three while three other Holmes standouts have two apiece.
Holmes leads the all-time series between the two institutions 31-20-1. The Bulldogs have won four consecutive contests with Northeast's most recent victory coming in a 17-14 decision in 2013.