Scooba, Miss. - Demarcus Rogers continues to make a deeper impact each week on the defensive side of the ball for the Northeast Mississippi Community College football program.
Rogers set a new career-high with 13 tackles and was involved in several other plays. But his efforts were not enough for the Tigers in a 54-10 loss to East Mississippi Community College on Thursday, September 15 at Sullivan-Windham Field.
The reigning Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State selection was credited with four solo stops plus nine assisted takedowns on the evening.
Rogers, who graduated from Tupelo High School, led Northeast in tackles as a freshman with 59. He currently holds that same distinction with 34 stops through three contests this year.
"My d-line makes a lot of blocks that way I can shoot the gaps," said Rogers. "They sacrifice and that's how I can make so many tackles. Those are my boys. We've bonded real good and just put in the hard work. We try to make plays for each other."
Ladarius Townsend paced the Tigers' linemen with one his best performances to date. He tied a career-high with five takedowns, blocked an extra point attempt by the Lions and recorded the first sack of the season by any Northeast defender.
The Tigers won the turnover battle with three takeaways compared to East Mississippi's two. Dazion Kincaid had perhaps the biggest of the night for Northeast with a muffed punt recovery inside the Lions' 20-yard line.
Austin Holloway turned that East Mississippi mistake into points with a 30-yard field goal. His third make of the campaign cut the Tigers' deficit to 13-10 with 4:02 remaining before halftime.
The Tigers have accumulated six takeaways, which is already more than all of last year. It is the second time in the last three meetings in which Northeast forced the Lions into three or more turnovers.
East Mississippi, which appears at No. 14 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) rankings, took the first possession of the game and scored on De'Andre Johnson's 19-yard quarterback keeper.
The Tigers, who are receiving votes in the JCGridiron Dirty 30 countrywide poll, immediately responded with their best drive of the contest. Northeast marched 89 yards in 14 plays and erased seven minutes and 22 seconds of clock time.
It was the first touchdown at the collegiate level for Miner. The New Orleans, La., native became the fourth different Northeast (2-1, 0-1) receiver to score so far this season.
"I've been working for this moment and I finally got it," Miner said. "We're taught to watch the ball on any given play. I saw the ball snapped and I just went for it. We were definitely in the game."
The Lions (2-1, 1-0) broke the draw in the second period and took a 19-10 advantage over the Tigers into the locker room following a pair of rushing scores from Tyrell Price.
East Mississippi extended its lead to 33-10 in the third after Duke Upshaw returned a blocked field goal 75 yards for a touchdown and Johnson reached the end zone for a second time on the ground.
The Lions completed their scoring in the final quarter with running touchdowns from Ja'Mori Mark and Price plus a short fumble return across the goal line by Ja'Moz Mark.
Cunningham had another solid showing for the Tigers. He was 15 of 26 through the air with 184 yards and one score plus had zero interceptions for a second consecutive start.
Bailey Walker did a tremendous job shifting field position as part of the special teams unit. He averaged 48 yards per punt and had three that were downed inside the 20-yard line plus two that were touchbacks.
The Tigers dominated the time of possession with 37 minutes against just 23 for East Mississippi. Northeast was also penalized only five times throughout the duration of the matchup.
"I think this team played pretty well at times," said Tigers head coach Greg Davis. "We've just got to put it all together and get back on track. Overall the biggest thing is don't let this affect us from here on out."
Northeast concludes the non-division portion of its schedule on Thursday, September 22 at Southwest Mississippi Community College. Kickoff between the Tigers and the Bears (1-2) is slated for 7 p.m. in Summit.