BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - East Mississippi defeated Iowa Western 34-17 Sunday afternoon at Biloxi High School to claim the NJCAA national title for the second consecutive year and the third national championship for head coach Buddy Stephens in the last four years.
An outstanding crowd packed Biloxi Indian Stadium, a crowd that included over four dozen coaches, many from major universities including Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
From everything I witnessed it was a total success. It started with the Friday night banquet and continued through the weekend. East Mississippi and local football fans packed the Lions stands and a very good crowd from Iowa Western watched the game in the Reivers stands.
I spoke with a few fans from Iowa and they fell in love with our weather and one high school coach said he would love to move to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and continue his coaching career in Biloxi.
It was a total win by everyone involved.
A young man from Picayune will always remember December 7, 2014.
East Mississippi center, Jacob Feely, a 6-3, 290 pound center now has two national titles under his belt to go along with a 5A State Championship that he won as a member of the Picayune Maroon Tide. He says he learned valuable lessons from Picayune head coach Dodd Lee.
"We learned toughness and heart from coach Lee, "stated Feely. "You always play with heart and never give up and you can out work the other guy, you've got a way better chance of beating them."
So where will Feely continue his college football career?
Feely said, "I've been looking at Utah State, Troy and UT-Martin. I'm just trying to keep everything open when it comes down to make a decision."
Many of the 40 to 45 Division I college football coaches on the sidelines took keen interest in East Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly, the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
Kelly said he was interested in four schools, Ole Miss, LSU, Virginia Tech and Indiana. He's presently taking his official visit in Oxford.