Already honored on the state level this week, freshman quarterback Quez Johnson of the third-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College has now been recognized nationally as the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week for his dual-threat exploits in last Thursday’s MACJC North Division title-clinching win over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi. The national weekly honors were announced Wednesday by the NJCAA office headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Also named this week’s MACJC/jucoweekly.org Offensive Player of the Week, Johnson posted career-best totals in EMCC’s recent 56-49 home win over the Rangers by accounting for 536 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns. The former Starkville High School standout threw for a career-high 422 yards and four touchdowns on 33-of-46 passing to secure the Lions’ fourth MACJC North Division regular-season football title in five years. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound signal caller also ran for a career-most 114 rushing yards on 21 attempts with three more scores on the ground.
This marks the second time this season that an East Mississippi football player has received national recognition. Freshman running back/kick returner LeDarious Clark, of Southeast Lauderdale High School, previously earned NJCAA Special Teams Player of the Week accolades following EMCC’s 35-15, season-opening home triumph over Pearl River Community College.
On the year, Johnson has completed 57 percent of his passes (162-of-282) for 2,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also ranks third on the EMCC squad with 299 rushing yards for the season and is tied for the team lead with sophomore running back Rodriguez Moore with nine rushing touchdowns.
Also receiving NJCAA individual honors this week were kick returner Fred Franklin of Holmes Community College for special teams and Louisburg College (N.C.) defensive back Jeffery Richardson.
Owners of a current 20-game winning streak dating back to last year’s NJCAA national championship season, head coach Buddy Stephens’ 8-0 EMCC Lions will close out the regular season Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) in Fulton against the Indians of Itawamba Community College. The Lions have prevailed in the last five EMCC-ICC gridiron battles, including last season’s 48-7 victory in Scooba and a 37-10 road win over the Indians two years ago in Fulton.
Set for their fifth consecutive appearance in the MACJC State Playoffs, the EMCC Lions clinched the No.1 seed in the MACJC’s North Division with last week’s key win over Northwest and will now play host to the South’s No. 2 seed on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Scooba. The MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 Championship Game will pair the winners of the two Nov. 3 semifinal-round playoff games on Saturday, Nov. 10 at a site to be determined.