East Mississippi gains on Top 2

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Hutchinson (#1, 5-0) holds off Butler (last week’s #2, now #4, 4-1); and, Mississippi Gulf Coast (#2, 5-0) and defending champion East Mississippi (#3, 4-1) continue their march to the national title game in Pittsburg. This while another Top 5 team loses a big match-up.

Hutchinson jumped to a 28-7 lead, but Butler refused to give up in a 35-27 victory for the Blue Dragons. Both teams had more than 400 yards of total offense, and their defenses combined for 26.5 Tackles For Loss. Hutch quarterback Mark Wright led the charge by throwing for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns, and ran for another 121 yards and one touchdown. Hutchinson is at Highland (#20, 3-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Butler hosts Independence (2-2, unranked but receiving votes), on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Mississippi Gulf Coast (#2, 5-0) won 38-20 over Copiah-Lincoln (#15, 3-2), and next hosts Southwest Mississippi (0-5) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This is one of the only games Mississippi Gulf Coast had against an unranked opponent, but they continue to average more than 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing per game, and are scoring 36.8 points per game, while just allowing 185.2 yards and 11.2 points per game.

Last week’s #3 team, Northwest Mississippi (#7, 4-1), lost a 47-42 shootout with Holmes (2-3, unranked but receiving votes) – 42 points combined in the 4th quarter. Northwest quarterback Jack Walker had a career night, throwing for 398 yards and six touchdowns, including a fourth quarter rally with 21 points, but it wasn’t enough. They face the new #3, East Mississippi (4-1), on Thursday at 7 p.m. East Mississippi is coming off a 24-0 win over East Central (3-2, unranked but receiving votes). The defending national champions have steadily climbed back up the polls after their week one loss to Hinds (now #11, 4-1).

Another team who has climbed the polls throughout the season is Lackawanna (#5, 4-0). They crushed Erie PA (1-3) by a score of 83-0, but face a stingier opponent this Saturday at 6 p.m. in ASA Brooklyn (4-1, unranked but receiving votes). In only four games, Lackawanna’s defense has forced 23 interceptions and 43 sacks. Brooklyn is coming off of their own one sided game – a 98-9 win over the NJ Warriors (1-3), a “post graduate team” that includes players from several community colleges in the region.

Other ranked teams facing other ranked opponents this week: Kilgore (#6, 5-1) is at Trinity Valley (#10, 4-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. Kilgore is coming off a 70-14 win over Texas A&T, while Trinity Valley is coming off a 46-13 win over Cisco (3-2). Garden City (#12, 4-2) is at Iowa Central (3-3, unranked but receiving votes) on Saturday at 12 p.m. Garden City is coming off a 42-17 win over Fort Scott (3-2, unranked but receiving votes), while Iowa Central is coming off a 20-14 loss to Highland (#20, 3-2). Copiah-Lincoln (#15, 3-2) hosts East Central (3-2, unranked but receiving votes) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Copiah-Lincoln is coming off losses to Northwest Mississippi (now #7) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (now #2). East Central is coming off its 24-0 road loss to East Mississippi (now #3).

For the complete poll from September 30, 2019, visit NJCAA.org/sports/fball/polls.

The NJCAA Football Championship game will be held Thursday, December 5 at 5 p.m. CST at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg, Kansas. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling (620) 235-4796, or visiting NJCAAFootballChampionship.com and clicking “Tickets”.

# # #