PERKINSTON, MS (MGCCC) - Looking for immediate help for next season...40 college coaches including Mississippi State's Joe Moorhead were on the sidelines observing the talent.
Offensive and defensive linemen along with skilled players in the junior college ranks can come in and fill gaps to secure starting positions. Both East Mississippi and Arizona Western have talented players capable of fulfilling those needs.
After East Mississippi jumped out to a 14-0 lead, the Matadors battled back and kept within striking distance.
East Mississippi held a three point lead, 31-28, over a tough Arizona Western team, and Lions under head coach Buddy Stephens needed to run one final play to run out the clock.
Quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. dropped to the turf and was hit by two Matators.
While Scott took a minute to get back up on his feet. The celebration began... ..East Mississippi head coach Buddy Stephens and his coaching staff accomplished another outstanding season. The game was dedicated to defensive lineman Tyone Clemons, a sophomore from Laurel who died tragically in an auto accident two weeks ago.
Coach Stephens said, "We miss Tyone. It was really hard before the ballgame to make sure our guys were focused. Stay focused on the right things. We wanted to remember Tyone and we had an opportunity to do that."
Tyone Clemons mom was presented with a game ball signed by the entire team in pregame ceremonies.
East Central quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. passed for 170 yards with two touchdowns. He added 42 rushing yards and was named Mississippi Bowl Player of the Year. He says his faith has carried him to the top.
Scott Jr. said, "Keep God first. My journey is all in his name. If I keep him first, I'm going to land in the right spot."
East Mississippi defensive lineman Jauan Collins of Pascagoula came up with a big sack late in the game to help secure victory.
"It means a lot, "said Collins. "We worked hard all summer. All year. It feels so good to finally win a national title."
Freshman running back Reginald Hunter Jr of Pascagoula celebrated with his family after the game.
Hunter said, "It means a lot to me. It was unbelievable coming to the national champion your first year in your junior college seasons. It was a pretty nice ride."
East Mississippi has built a winning reputation under coach Buddy Stephens... they are the 2017 National Champs.