Booneville, Miss. - Northeast Mississippi Community College is set to take up a great cause as it begins the latter half of the 2016 gridiron campaign.
Northeast will hold its annual Pink Out Game at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 8 against Itawamba Community College. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink items of clothing to Tiger Stadium to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Those that cannot attend the contest 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 Booneville based radio station WBIP. An audio simulcast featuring Jody Presley and Carter Smith, the Voices of the Tigers, can be heard on 99.7 FM and AM 1400 on your digital dial.
Among the pregame festivities is a special presentation at approximately 6:10 p.m. by the North Mississippi Medical Center CareFlight crew to members of the Northeast faculty and staff that have won their respective battles against breast cancer.
"That's a great thing there," said Tigers head coach Greg Davis. "There's a lot of excitement going on here. I'm encouraging everybody because it's going to be a fun event."
Northeast enters the game ranked No. 18 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll. The Tigers have posted their best start since the 2011 campaign with a 4-1 overall mark.
Mason Cunningham of Shelbyville, Tenn., is the fastest Northeast quarterback in the last decade to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. He currently has 1,103 yards to his credit with six touchdowns and a 57.9 completion percentage.
Cunningham has several stellar targets to throw to at wide receiver. Water Valley's L.J. Hawkins, PaDarius Martin of Southeast Lauderdale High School and Toreano Miner of New Orleans, La., each have two touchdown catches apiece.
Hawkins is posting record-breaking numbers during his sophomore season. He has amassed 38 catches, which is fourth most in the entire country, and 513 yards through only five contests.
Oxford High School graduate Kenzie Phillips had a solid outing against Coahoma Community College with a game-high 71 yards on 14 carries. Cunningham tops the Tigers with four rushing scores.
Demarcus Rogers of Tupelo paces the defense with team-bests of 50 takedowns, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Keawvis Cummings from Shannon leads Northeast with seven pass break ups and hauled in his first interception one week ago.
The Indians (3-2, 0-2) feature one of the more elite offenses in the NJCAA. They lead the nation with 412.2 passing yards per matchup and are second with an average of 588.6 overall yards each outing.
Itawamba switches quarterbacks frequently with both Peyton Bender and Dan Ellington getting ample time behind center. They have combined for 2,061 yards through the air and 12 touchdowns compared to two interceptions.
Terry Williams is the only wideout in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) that can rival the Tigers' Hawkins statistically. Williams has 41 receptions and 546 yards, which are both the highest totals in the league.
Defensive backs Quinshay Heard and David Little pace the Indians with 29 tackles apiece. Itawamba has forced 10 turnovers this season while Northeast has accumulated 14 takeaways.
"Defensively they're outstanding and offensively they've got some spark," Davis said. "It's going to be a fun game, but I really anticipate our football team being focused and I'm really excited.
"I really believe the kids are ready to play. All we want is one more point on the scoreboard and at the end of the day we're happy. I don't care how it happens, but that's what we've got to do."
It is the second consecutive year in which the yearly rivalry affair between these two institutions takes place in the City of Hospitality. The Indians claimed the previous meeting by a 52-14 margin and are also ahead in the all-time series 37-16-3.