Booneville, Miss. - The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program looks to hit the refresh button as it enters the conference portion of its schedule with a big matchup.
Northeast begins Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division play by hosting East Mississippi Community College. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
The contest serves as Northeast's annual White Out Game. Fans are encouraged to fill the bleachers well before the Tigers take the field and wear white to support the team.
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 new 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 fell in its two tune-up games prior to the start of division action by a combined 13 points against East Central Community College and Pearl River Community College.
Greg Davis, who is now in his third season as commander of the Tigers, notes that his squad has not flinched even after the two close losses and some adversity in the form of injuries.
"They've showed a lot of grit and determination," he said. "There have been points where they could have gotten down and really given up. They didn't do that and that was very important for me to see.
"Overall, the kids have played extremely well. I couldn't be prouder of them than what I am. We've rallied together and put some things together offensively and defensively."
A mix-and-match could happen at quarterback for Northeast with both Desmond Hunter of Wilkinson County High School and Tupelo Christian Prepatory Academy graduate Caleb Kitchens expected to get playing time.
Oxford's Kenzie Phillips has certainly been the highlight on the offensive side of the pigskin for the Tigers (0-2). His 126.5 rushing yards per game rank second in the MACJC behind only Cameryn Brent of Holmes Community College.
Phillips had the second 100-plus yard performance of his career in the City of Hospitality one week ago against East Central. He now has eight touchdowns over his two years, including three as a sophomore.
"Kenzie's a guy that's going to physically outwork anybody out on the field," Davis said. "He's not going to go down with one tackle. He's going to keep churning those legs. It does not shock me that he's one of the leading rushers in the state."
Kylin Washington of Fort Smith, Ark., has been stellar on the line with four tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. Northeast is even in turnover margin through three games with two fumble recoveries and an interception by Philadelphia's Johnathon Edwards.
Louisiana State University (LSU) transfer Lindsey Scott, Jr., paces the Lions, who are ranked No. 2 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll, with 708 passing yards and five touchdowns compared to two interceptions.
His biggest target is Texas A&M University transfer Kirk Merritt, who has 12 catches for 249 yards and one score. Tyrell Price is the leading rusher for East Mississippi with 181 yards and five touchdowns.
Linebackers account for four of the top five tacklers for the Lions (2-0). Ty'Ree Evans has a team-best 24 stops while Emanuel Bridges is next on the list with 16 takedowns.
East Mississippi captured the yearly meeting between these two programs during the previous campaign by a 54-10 margin in Scooba. The Lions are also ahead in the all-time series by a 38-18 edge.