Local JUCO Players Receive State, National Recognition

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(WCBI Sports) – The NJCAA (national organization) and MACJC (state-wide organization) announce their postseason awards Monday.

EMCC nets a state-high seven players on the NJCAA All-Region 23 Football Team and the Lions earn 11 of the 25 first-team MACJC (state) selections. Head coach Buddy Stephens is named the Coach of the Year in the region and state for the fourth year in a row.

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One ICC player is in the NJCAA’s All-Region team and the MACJC recognizes ten ICC players.

Five Northeast players are honored by the MACJC.

For the second year in a row, East Mississippi swept the MACJC North’s MVP accolades with quarterback Chad Kelly (Buffalo, N.Y.) and offensive lineman Jamal Danley (Byhalia HS) collecting Most Valuable Back and Most Valuable Lineman laurels, respectively, on offense as well as linebacker Demetrius Cain (Hazlehurst) and defensive lineman Lorenzo Phillips (Port Sulphur, La.) on the defensive side of the ball.

A total of 12 East Mississippi players garnered all-region and/or all-state recognition this season. Along with Kelly, Danley, Cain and Phillips doubling as NJCAA All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State First Team honorees for the Lions, EMCC offensive lineman Brandon Hodges (Aberdeen), defensive lineman D.J. Jones (Pelzer, SC) and injured wide receiver Kameron Myers (Charleston) also hauled in region and state honors.

EMCC’s division-most 11 selections (four on offense, six on defense and a kicker) to the 2014 MACJC All-State Team were nearly twice as many as any other MACJC North Division member. Itawamba was second with six recipients followed by Northwest Mississippi with three.

Defensively, the Lions also touted linebacker Justin Lucas (Aberdeen) along with defensive backs Allen Sentimore (Laurel) and Quan Latham (Columbus) as first-team all-state selections within the MACJC’s North Division. EMCC kicker/punter Drew White (Tupelo) also earned first-team accolades, while wide receiver Camion Patrick (Knoxville, Tenn.) made the MACJC’s All-State Second Team.

ICC has six players named to the MACJC All-State First Team, four to the Second Team and sophomore Jeb Millender (Pontotoc) was named NJCAA All-Region 23 Punter.

“We are extremely proud of these guys,” said first year head coach Sean Cannon. “We’re proud to see their contributions and hard work being recognized with these postseason honors.”

Freshman wide receiver Grant Kimberland (Olive Branch),sophomore offensive lineman Joel Forrester (Oxford), freshman running back Richard McQuarley (Meridian), freshman defensive lineman Ladarius Gallion (West Point), freshman defensive back Levarious Varnado (Calhoun City) and Millender were all selected to the MACJC All-State First Team.

The Indians named to the MACJC All-State Second Team are sophomore offensive lineman Joseph Bacchus (Southaven), sophomore kicker Tyler Jackson (Oxford), freshman defensive lineman Naquez Pringle (Georgetown, SC) and sophomore linebacker Myles Harges (Grenada).

Millender, who led the nation with 25-punts inside the 20, was named to the NJCAA All-Region 23 Team.

For Northeast, Justin Barksdale makes the All-State first-team.

In addition to Barksdale’s accolade, four more members of the Tiger football program were honored with MACJC All-State second-team laurels: wideout Joe Horn, Jr. and defensive players Marcus Robinson, Justin Williams (East Oktibbeha grad) and Starkville’s Johnny Smith.

“Each of these players showed a great amount of leadership and accomplishment in their own particular skill,” said Northeast offensive coordinator Greg Davis. “They were a pleasure to coach and exciting to watch as they took the field.”