BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/NEMCC Athletics) - The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program must once again prepare for one of the toughest slates in the entire country as the fall rapidly approaches.
Northeast headman Ricky Smither is no stranger to the rigorous competition inside the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). The Tigers have played at least two contests against teams that appeared in the NJCAA’s poll for the past four years.
“We were looking at the schedule and we called it murders row,” said Smither. “But eventually to be the best you have to beat the best. Each week you’re playing a team that could beat you or you could beat them. The thing is we’ve just got to stay healthy, execute and keep our kids up.”
Northeast kicks off the campaign with its longest road trip. The Tigers trek nearly five hours and over 300 miles south to meet No. 9 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston on Thursday, August 28.
Following the lid lifter against the reigning MACJC South Division runner-up Bulldogs, Northeast faces Hinds Community College on Thursday, September 4 in its home opener. The 18th-ranked Eagles participated in the Brazos Valley Bowl in Bryan, Texas, one year ago.
Rival Northwest Mississippi Community College invades Tiger Stadium for the initial MACJC North Division matchup of the campaign on Thursday, September 11 before Northeast travels to defending NJCAA National Champion East Mississippi Community College the following week.
Homecoming festivities will take over the Booneville campus and culminate with a pivotal league game versus Coahoma Community College on Saturday, September 27. It is the only weekend contest of the regular season for the Tigers.
A pair of crucial matchups to Northeast’s postseason hopes follow homecoming. The Tigers visit Mississippi Delta Community College on Thursday, October 2 and then make the short ride to Fulton for the second straight year to take the gridiron opposite Itawamba Community College during week seven.
Northeast concludes the campaign by hosting back-to-back games against Pearl River Community College (Thursday, October 16) and Holmes Community College (Thursday, October 23).
“We’re blessed and really excited about the guys we’re returning and the recruiting class that we had,” Smither said. “Let’s get in the ring and let’s go toe-to-toe and see what happens. We’re excited about it.”
The 2014 MACJC State Playoffs gets underway with the semifinal round on Saturday, November 1 and culminates with the title contest on Saturday, November 8.
The state champion earns the right to participate in the sixth annual Mississippi Bowl on Sunday, November 30 at Indian Stadium in Biloxi.
The Tigers finished as the runner-up spot in the MACJC North Division for the seventh time in program history and the third occasion in four years during the 2013 campaign and recorded a 4-5 overall record.
Full 2014 Northeast Tiger Football Schedule
Aug. 28 – at Mississippi Gulf Coast – 7 p.m.
Sep. 4 – vs. Hinds – 6:30 p.m.
Sep. 11 – vs. Northwest – 6:30 p.m.
Sep. 18 – at East Mississippi – 7 p.m.
Sep. 27 – vs. Coahoma – 3 p.m.
Oct. 2 – at Mississippi Delta – 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 – at Itawamba – 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 – vs. Pearl River – 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 – vs. Holmes – 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 1 – MACJC Semifinals – TBA
Nov. 8 – MACJC Championship – TBA