The East Central Community College Warriors will open the 2020 football season by hosting five-time national champion East Mississippi Community College Thursday, Sept. 10, in Bailey Stadium on the campus in Decatur. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
The season opener will also mark the debut of the new 12,300 square-foot Warrior Hall football operations center located outside the north end zone of Bailey Stadium.
The 2020 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges football season is starting two weeks later this year due to the COVID-19 situation. ECCC’s season opener against EMCC was originally scheduled for Aug. 27. The season has also been shortened from nine to eight games.
All 14 MACJC teams will play eight games, four home and four away. The four-team state semifinals and state championship game postseason format remains unchanged.
ECCC Director of Athletics Paul Nixon said a final decision has not been made on any precautions the MACJC and East Central Community College might implement for the health and safety of fans attending home games.
“The MACJC commissioner’s office continues to work with state health officials to determine if any restrictions will be placed on attendance for home games this season due to the ever-changing response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Nixon said. “As decisions are made regarding any necessary precautions ECCC Athletics will be taking to ensure the health and safety of all our fans and participants during this season’s football contests, those steps will be communicated as they are finalized.”
After hosting the EMCC Lions, Head Coach Ken Karcher and his Warriors will travel to Ellisville to face Jones College at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17. The Bobcats finished last season with a No. 10 ranking and second in the MACJC South Division.
East Central will host the Southwest Bears at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, before a trip to Poplarville to play the Pearl River Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1. The defending national champion Gulf Coast Bulldogs will visit Decatur for a 6:30 p.m. contest on Thursday, Oct. 8. It will be Homecoming 2020 for ECCC.
The remainder of the schedule has ECCC at the Copiah-Lincoln Wolves in Wesson at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, at home against the Hinds Eagles at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, and at the Coahoma Tigers in Clarksdale at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
All games are South Division affairs except EMCC and Coahoma.
Tickets to all home games are $10 for adults and $5 for ages 18 and under. All ECCC students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid college ID.
East Central is already receiving preseason recognition with a No. 21 national ranking by Street & Smith’s magazine. Kicking specialist Robens Beauplan (Lehigh Acres, Fla., Riverdale) and running back JD Martin (Wetumpka, Ala.) were both named preseason JUCO Super Sophomores by the publication.
East Central is coming off a 4-5 2019 season that included a 3-3 mark in the MACJC South Division. The Warriors faced seven ranked teams during the season, including the last five games in a row.
All East Central Community College football games in 2020 can be heard on WKOZ “Cruisin” 98.3. The audio, as well as live stream video for all home games, will be streamed online at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media and at www.kicks96news.com.