East Central Community College wide receiver Xavier Willis (9) maintains possession following this second-quarter reception despite receiving a hard lick from a Pearl River Community College defender during the Thursday night battle at Bailey Stadium. Willis, a sophomore, is a product of Newton County High School. The visiting Wildcats held on for a 10-2 MACJC South Division victory.
DECATUR - Turnovers and missed scoring opportunities were too much to overcome for the East Central Community College Warriors who fell 10-2 in the season finale with Pearl River Community College Thursday night at Bailey Stadium.
EC finished 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the MACJC South Division under second-year head coach Ken Karcher. The Wildcats went 5-4 and 3-6 under second-year head mentor William Jones.
The Warrior defense forced four turnovers during the low-scoring contest, but the offense was unable to take advantage of the opportunities, which included a fumble at the Wildcats’ one-yard-line and two missed field goals.
“We have to take advantage when presented with opportunities,” said Coach Karcher. “We missed a couple of field goals, and we turned the ball back over to them. You’re not going to beat many teams doing that.”
Karcher utilized both freshman quarterbacks for the division battle, as Trey Willis directed the offense in the first half and Andrew Dunn took over for the final two quarters. They combined for 57 yards passing on five-of-17 attempts and three interceptions.
Willis (5-5, 165) is a product of Forest Hill High School and Dunn (6-7, 230) hails from Pascagoula High School.
“We have young guys in multiple positions,” said Karcher. “We have a freshman-laden team. We struggled all year at quarterback with turnovers. You can’t do that, and we’ll have to get that corrected in the final season. Each quarterback played a half, they are young guys who need to improve, and that’s my job.”
In addition to the four turnovers, EC’s defense limited Pearl River to just 210 yards and recorded three quarterback sacks.
“Our defense did a very good job all year outside of one game (Copiah-Lincoln),” Karcher said. “The defensive coaches (Scott Brock, Mickey Mays and Charles Jones) have done an outstanding job this year, and our defensive line play does not surprise me. (Defensive line coach) Mays can coach, anywhere in the country, in my mind. I’ve worked with him before, and he’s one of the best on the business.”
EC’s defense forced turnovers on two of the first three offensive plays by Pearl River, but could not muster any points.
Aubrey Bourn’s interception off a deflected pass from quarterback Kaylon Cooper gave EC possession on its 33, but the Warriors were forced to punt after earning one first down. Bourn is a freshman linebacker from Hattiesburg.
The Wildcats fumbled on their next possession, as defensive lineman Jadarius Ceasar burst through the line and stripped Cooper of the ball and made the recovery at the Pearl River eight-yard-line.
EC’s offense was unable to cash in on the scoring opportunity, as Brennan O’Keefe was unsuccessful on his 25-yard field goal attempt. O’Keefe is a freshman and product of St. Martin High School.
Bourn gave EC another scoring opportunity following his second takeaway on the Wildcat 35-yard-line.
Willis led the Warrior offense on an impressive drive, which included a 57-yard pass completion to running back Marquis Hedge to the Wildcat 24-yard-line. Hedge, a sophomore from Forest Hill, followed with runs of four and six yards to the 14, and speedster Lamarcus Franks toted the pigskin 14 yards to the one-yard-line. Willis tried to sneak over the goal line from the one, but he apparently fumbled before reaching pay dirt, according to officials. (Franks, a sophomore running back from Greene County High School, finished the night with 94 yards on 26 carries. He was 39 yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the 2014 season.)
Pearl River took possession on the one, but three plays later EC was awarded a safety when a Wildcat lineman was penalized for holding in the end zone with 6:20 left before halftime.
EC’s 2-0 advantage lasted only a few minutes, as the Wildcats capitalized on a Willis interception at the Warrior 27. Two plays later, sophomore running back Darrell Robison scored on a one-yard plunge with 1:49 remaining in the half. Freshman kicker Jovon Detto added the PAT. Robison is a Noxubee County product and Detto is from Pearl River Central.
After a scoreless third period, the Warriors missed another scoring opportunity early in the fourth stanza when O’Keefe’s 39-yard field goal was unsuccessful. EC began the drive near midfield following a Pearl River turnover.
The game’s final points came on Devon’s 35-yard field goal with 4:27 remaining, and resulted from a Warrior turnover near midfield.
The season finale marked the final game for 16 Warrior sophomores.
“I just told them in the locker room, that I am very proud of those guys,” Karcher said. “Those guys laid a foundation and a mentality that’s going to carry this program to where it needs to go.”
These sophomores on the 2014 East Central Community College football team received special recognition prior to the season finale with Pearl River Community College Thursday, Oct. 23 at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus. Completing their careers as Warriors are (kneeling from left) defensive back JaDerrick Farrow (3) of Bleckley County (Cochran, GA), quarterback Ethan Hamilton (8) of Noxapater, wide receiver Xavier Willis (9) of Newton County, running backs Marquis Hedge (21) of Forest Hill and Lamarcus Franks (22) of Greene County, linebacker Grant Landrum (26) of Sumrall and defensive backs Raphael McClain (39) of Starkville and Kenadaira “Junior” Watts of Newton; and (standing from left) linebacker Thomas McCool (38) and Darrion Burnside (42), both of Neshoba Central; defensive lineman Tyler Pace (45) of Newton, long snapper Trent Haden (50) of Sumrall, offensive lineman Marcus Johnson (79) of New Hope, wide receiver Jimmy Cockrell (89) of Columbus, defensive linemen Kendrick Maxwell (90) of Houston and Darryl Rogers (91) of Laurel, and filmer Tyler Armistad of Caledonia. Ken Karcher serves as head coach.
East Central Community College wide receiver Kabion Ento (7) hauls in a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Willis during the Warriors’ MACJC South Division battle at Southwest Mississippi Community College Saturday, October 18 on the Summit campus. EC led 14-10 at halftime but the Bears rallied for a 38-14 homecoming victory. Ento is a product of Dollarway High School in Pine Bluff, AR, and Willis hails from Forest Hill High School. Both are freshmen.
East Central Community College freshman punter Chandler Powell (15) is shown during his 49-yard run on a fake punt that gave the Warriors possession on the Southwest Mississippi Community College nine-yard line late in first-half action on the Summit campus. EC scored on the next play and held a 14-10 advantage at halftime of the MACJC South Division matchup. However, the Bears rallied for a 38-14 homecoming victory. Powell is a product of Forest High School.
Three late scores in the game’s final six minutes broke open a close contest and provided Southwest Mississippi Community College with a 38-14 homecoming victory over East Central Community College Saturday, October 18 at John I. Hurst Stadium.The Warriors were hoping to even their overall record 4-4 and have an opportunity for a winning campaign in the season finale this week, but the host Bears had other ideas and rallied for the MACJC South Division victory.
East Central, which fell to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in league play, had taken a 14-10 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
After the Bears jumped out to 7-0 first quarter lead on Tylertown product Chris Jones’ five-yard scamper to pay dirt followed by Reed James’ PAT, the Warriors responded with quarterback Trey Willis completing a 34-yard TD strike to wide receiver Kabion Ento early in second-quarter action, capping a six-play, 83-yard drive. Brennan O’Keefe added the PAT.
Willis finished the night by completing 16 of 28 passes for 145 yards and the one TD pass. He is a product of Forest Hill High School. Ento led EC receivers with four grabs for 73 yards and the one score. He hails from Dollarway High School in Pine Bluff, AR. O’Keefe is a former standout at St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs. All three are freshmen.
Southwest regained the lead at 10-7 on James’ 40-yard field goal with 9:11 left before halftime. James is a product of Germantown High School.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Warriors took over on their own 19 and quickly marched up field following Willis’ 17-yard pass to tight end Devaughn Brown to the EC 36. Brown is a product of a Thibodaux (LA) High School.
However, the drive stalled on the EC 42 and the Warriors faced a four and four situation. Freshman Chandler Powell was set to punt, but instead the Forest High School product raced down the sideline on a 49-yard scamper to the Southwest nine yard line, successfully executing a fake punt as called by head coach Ken Karcher. Chandler had nine punts for a 36.7-yard average.
EC scored on the next play, as sophomore running back Lamarcus Franks tallied on a nine-yard run with just over six minutes left before halftime. O’Keefe added the PAT.
Franks once again led Warrior rushers, as the 5-7, 142-pound speedster from Greene County High School finished with 169 yards on 36 carries, a 4.7-yard per carry average.
Southwest took the lead for good at 17-14 late in the third stanza on Ballard’s 43-yard TD strike to Ladarius Slocum of Tylertown. James added the PAT.
The Warriors had a chance to tie the contest early in the final stanza but O’Keefe’s 42-yard field goal attempt missed by inches.
Southwest (3-4, 2-3) put the game away in the game’s final minutes, beginning with Ballard’s 73-yard scamper to pay dirt with 6:12 left, followed by Ballard’s 36-yard TD toss to wide receiver Kameron Williams of Bassfield with 3:07 left, and later defensive lineman Josh Samander’s 39-yard fumble return with 2:48 remaining. Samander is from Jackson Prep.
The Warrior defense was led by defensive backs Austin Balthazor (Seminary) and Raphael McClain (Starkville), who each had seven tackles and two assists. Other top defenders were defensive back Jaylon Lofton (Forest), seven tackles and a quarterback sack; linebacker Aubrey Bourn (Hattiesburg), six solo stops and one assist; and defensive back JaDerrick Farrow (Bleckley County, GA), two tackles and one assist.
East Central completes 2014 competition by hosting Pearl River Community College Thursday, Oct. 23. Kickoff for the MACJC matchup is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bailey Stadium. Warrior sophomores will be recognized during a pre-game ceremony.
PRC is 4-4 overall following their 45-28 win over Northwest Mississippi Community College last week. The Wildcats are 1-4 in the MACJC South Division.
East Central Community College defensive lineman Tyler Pace (45) tackles Jones County Junior College’s Justin Smith (30) for a loss during the Warriors’ 14-7 homecoming victory Saturday at Bailey Stadium. Pace is a sophomore and product of Newton High School. Other Warriors shown are linebacker Eric McPherson (47) of Jim Hill and defensive lineman Dexter Charles (71), a product of Church Point (La.) High School, both freshmen.
East Central Community College wide receiver Kabion Ento (7) races past the Jones County Junior College defense following one of three receptions during the Warriors’ stunning upset of nationally ranked Jones County Junior College Saturday afternoon at Bailey Stadium in Decatur. Ento is a freshman wide receiver and product of Dollarway (Ark.) High School. Also shown is Warrior wide receiver Allen Fails (88) of North Forrest High School.
Sophomore speedster Lamarcus Franks (22) is shown during one of his many impressive runs while leading East Central Community College to a stunning 14-7 homecoming victory over nationally ranked Jones County Junior College Saturday afternoon at Bailey Stadium in Decatur. Franks’ 39-yard touchdown scamper early in the third stanza snapped a 7-7 tie and gave the Warriors’ their winning margin over the No. 20 Bobcats. Franks, who continues to pile up yardage despite his a 5-7, 142-pound frame, led EC rushers with 118 yards on 20 carries. He is a product of Greene County High School. Also shown is EC freshman quarterback Trey Willis (12), a product of Forest Hill High School.
East Central Community College defensive back Trey Sloan (1) is shown during his electrifying 100-yard interception return for a touchdown early in second quarter action of the Warriors’ homecoming clash with Jones County Junior College Saturday afternoon in Decatur. The Warriors rallied for a stunning 14-7 upset of the nationally ranked Bobcatss. Sloan is a freshman defensive back and product of Oak Grove High School. Other Warriors shown are defensive lineman Tyler Pace (45) of Newton and defensive back JaDerrick Farrow, a product of Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Ga.