Above are members of the East Central Community College men’s soccer team, who begin 2013 competition as defending co-champions of the MACJC North Division. Squad members and their respective high schools include (first row, from left) manager Ethan Gressett, Newton County; forwards/midfielders Will Thompson (2) and Russ Thompson (3) and defender Jesse Vaughn (4), all of Newton County; forward Taylor Potter (5), MS School for Math and Science; forwards Tim Nix (6) of D’Iberville and Jesus Onofre (7) of Forest; defenders Zack Killion (8) of South Oldham (Ky.) and Jordan Walker (9) of Newton County; midfielder Jordan Alfonso (10), Newton County; and manager Mason Boyer, Des Allemands, La.; (second row, from left) Kenneth Thompson, head coach; midfielders Chase McNair (11) of Neshoba Central and Kennon Craft (12) of Clinton; defender Tyravian Miller (13), Moss Point; forward Daniel Casaca (14), Forest; midfielders Nick Breland (15) of Stone and Eliud Alvarez (16) of Forest; defender Forest Muller (17), Hahnville (La.); midfielder Garrett Blevins (18), Harrison Central; and Gray Massey, assistant coach: and (third row, from left) manager Alana Walker, Pascagoula; forward Dalton Smith (19), Florence; defenders Jerry Byrd (20) of D’Iberville and Hector Ortiz (21) of Enterprise; keepers Matt Taylor of Clarkdale and Matt Sykes of Heritage Academy, Columbus; defender David Williams (22), Newton County; forward Clint McGraw (23), Tupelo Christian; defender Ryan Artman (24), Grenada; and manager Tyler Pigg, Newton County. The Soccer Warriors begin season action Thursday, August 22 at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Game time is 6 p.m. on the Wesson campus. The first home match is set for Friday, August 30 with Meridian Community College. Competition begins at 5 p.m. on the Decatur campus.
A new head coach and a “new” attitude will hopefully provide success for the East Central Community College women’s soccer team, which begins the 2013 campaign Thursday, August 22 at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Game time is 4 p.m. on the Wesson campus.
Gray Massey takes over the Lady Warrior program from Kenneth Thompson, who led the squad during its current eight years in the league while also serving the past 14 years as men’s coach. Thompson continues to lead the men’s program and will assist Massey with the women’s team. Massey in turn will serve as Thompson’s assistant.
Massey, whose resume includes three state soccer championships while leading girls’ and boys’ soccer programs at Florence High School, said he “looks forward” to the 2013 campaign and helping lead the Lady Soccer Warriors to a successful year.
The Lady Soccer Warriors struggled in 2012 and finished 3-14 overall and 2-6 in the MACJC North Division.
However, Massey said the squad will be much improved in 2013.
“We have a good core returning with MACJC All-State keeper Alana Turner as well as other key contributors such as midfielders Morgan Luke and Claire Milling and defender Paige Gower,” said Massey.
Turner was a member of one of Massey’s state championship squads at Florence. Luke is a product of Newton County High School while Milling and Gower hail from West Lauderdale and Clarkdale high schools, respectively.
Massey also expects midfielders Mackenzie Britt of Florence, Sydney Dawkins of Clarkdale, Miranda Clark of Neshoba Central, defenders Heather Johnson of Newton County and Kennedy Castleberry of Clarkdale, forward Bailey McElroy of Clarkdale and transfer forward/keeper Erika Joyner of West Lauderdale, “to use their experience as freshmen to provide solid play on the field.”
Massey said he is also “very pleased” with his first recruiting class.
“The freshman group includes several standouts, including defenders Addie Ambrosier of Magee and Tesi Keith from Corinth,” he said. “This class will look to forwards Tamia Calvert of Murrah, Kennedy McReynolds of Southeast Lauderdale and Madi Trapp of Philadelphia to provide goals.”
Massey added he expects forward Ashlan Culberson of Brandon “to provide support in the middle of the field,” while midfielder/defender Jessie Herrington of Neshoba Central “will provide depth to the back line.”
Another newcomer is keeper Alana Walker of Pascagoula, who is recovering from ACL surgery and will be redshirted this season to rehab her injured knee. She will serve as a team manager for the 2013 season.
The Lady Warriors will make three road trips prior to their home opener with Meridian Community College Friday, August 30. Game time is set for 3 p.m. on the Decatur campus.
Students representing the Philadelphia/Neshoba County Career-Technical Center won various honors at the National HOSA Leadership Conference held July 25-30, 2013, in Nashville. Alisha Sifuentes (second from left) and Kodi Wright (fourth from left) combined talents to win first place in the Community Awareness competition. Sifuentes also won in HOSA Week and Wright won in Outstanding HOSA Chapter competitions. The same students received honors at the 2012 national competition with their third-place award in Health Education. Emilio Suarez (left) and Tommy Martin (right) placed in the top 27 in Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) and advanced to the second round of competition. The award-winning students are shown with Martha Stokes (center), HOSA adviser and Health Science instructor. The Philadelphia/Neshoba County Career-Technical Center was the only school from Mississippi to place in the top three at Nationals, by winning first place. Approximately 7,000 students attended the conference. The Philadelphia/Neshoba County Career-Technical Center is a division of East Central Community College in Decatur. (Submitted photo)
Coach Kenneth Thompson
For the first time in school history, the East Central Community College men’s soccer team begins season action as defending division champions.
The Soccer Warriors, who travel to Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the season opener scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 22 in Wesson, experienced their most successful campaign in 2012, earning a share of the MACJC North Division title by posting a 5-2-1 mark. EC advanced to the MACJC State Soccer Tournament en route to a 10-6-3 record under Kenneth Thompson, who completed his 14th season leading the Warrior program.
Coach Thompson said the goal this year is to win an outright division title and compete for a state championship.
“2012 was a great year for the Warriors, and with the return of eight fulltime starters we are hoping for continued and greater success in 2013,” said Thompson.
However, the Soccer Warriors must find a replacement for two key members of the championship squad who are continuing their careers on the next level.
Forward McGee Ledbetter of Columbus signed with NAIA National Champion Belhaven University Blazers, and keeper Jared Canoy of Biloxi is now a member of the Mississippi College Choctaws.
Ledbetter was selected Region 23 Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring with 14 goals, one assist and 29 total points. He also received team co-captain and Golden Boot awards. Ledbetter is a product of Heritage Academy in Columbus.
Canoy is a two-time MACJC All-State selection. He was also the recipient of team most valuable player and co-captain awards. Canoy is a product of West Harrison High School.
Despite the loss of two former standouts, Thompson said the 2013 squad features “plenty of returning talent,” including three players who received MACJC All-State honors – defender Jesse Vaughn and forward Russ Thompson, both products of Newton County High School; and forward Taylor Potter of Bentonia, a former standout at Mississippi School for Math and Science.
Potter and Thompson were the team’s second and third leading scorers, respectively, from the 2012 campaign.
Thompson noted scoring should not be a problem for the 2013 team, as four of the top five scorers return to action.
Defensively, Thompson said four of the top five defenders return to the lineup and include Vaughn, Jordan Walker of Newton County High School, Forest Mueller of Hahnville (La.) High School and Zack Killion of South Oldham (Ky.) High School.
Other key returnees include midfielders Will Thompson of Newton County, Kennon Craft of Clinton and Garrett Blevins of Harrison Central; forward Clint McGraw of Tupelo Christian; defenders Tyravian Miller of Moss Point and Ryan Artman of Grenada; and keeper Matt Taylor of Clarkdale.
Thompson said several newcomers should also attract attention this year. Players to watch include forward Jesus Onofre, a 2011 graduate of Forest High School, and midfielder Jordan Alonso of Newton County.
Another top newcomer is freshman forward Dalton Smith, who was the top scorer last year at Florence High School.
“We hope Dalton can help shoulder the scoring load this season,” added Thompson.
Other freshmen and their respective high schools include keeper Matt Sykes, Heritage Academy; forwards Tim Nix of D’Iberville, Daniel Casaca of Forest and Joseph Gaskin of Maranatha Christian in Greenville; midfielders Chase McNair of Neshoba Central, Nick Breland of Stone County, Eliud Alvarez of Forest; and defenders Jerry Byrd of D’Iberville, Hector Ortiz of Enterprise and David Williams of Newton County.
Thompson said the talent-laden roster should provide a crowd-pleasing brand of soccer for the 2013 campaign.
“Fans will once again be treated to an exciting, attacking style of soccer,” said Thompson. “The 2012 Warriors kept fans on the edge of their seats and 2013 should be more of the same. Maintaining possession with an attractive passing game along with a swarming defense will thrill fans!”
The Soccer Warriors will make three road trips prior to their home opener with Meridian Community College Friday, August 30. Game time is set for 5 p.m. on the Decatur campus.
For more information on the EC Soccer, visit the College’s Web site, www.eccc.edu.
Coach Tony Dungy
Former National Football League head football coach Tony Dungy will be the guest speaker at an East Central Community College-sponsored program scheduled March 28, 2014, at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia.
Coach Dungy, who will visit the EC campus in Decatur prior to the event, will participate in a fundraising effort for the Warrior football program, led by first-year head coach Ken Karcher, a longtime friend and associate.
Coach Dungy, who retired from coaching in 2008 after a successful career which included a 2007 Super Bowl victory with the Indianapolis Colts, now serves as an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America.
He is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Quiet Strength and Uncommon.
In addition, Coach Dungy is involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Prison Crusade Ministry, All-Pro Dads and many others.
“The College is extremely fortunate to have someone of Coach Dungy’s reputation and stature to visit our campus and community,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “I can say that our football program, our college and our community will be blessed by the presence of Tony Dungy this spring.”
More information about Coach Tony Dungy’s visit to East Central Community College will be announced at a later date.
A scrimmage featuring East Central Community College and Belhaven University football squads scheduled Friday, August 16, 2013, on the Belhaven field in Jackson has been cancelled, announced school officials.
East Central begins the 2013 season by traveling to Itawamba Community College Thursday, August 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Fulton campus.
The Warriors are led by first-year head coach Ken Karcher.
For more information on the upcoming Warrior football season and schedule, visit the College Web site, www.eccc.edu.
These recent graduates of East Central Community College’s Practical Nursing Program received special recognition at the program’s annual pinning ceremony held July 30, 2013, in the Vickers Fine Arts Center on the Decatur campus. Completing the 12-month program are (first row, from left) Sannella Payton, Union; Latoria Boler, Carthage; Deborah Williams, Newton; Betty Tucker, Morton; and Kimberly Kendrick, Carthage; (second row, from left) Paula Bounds, Hickory; Brittany Pinter, Forest; Lacey Johnson, Philadelphia; and Susan Jackson, Sebastopol; (third row, from left) Jackie Hogue, Sebastopol; Summar Fortenberry, and Briana Spears, both of Philadelphia; Amber Thaggard, Carthage; and Kenisha Carter, Louisville. Tucker was the featured speaker and was selected Practical Nursing Student of the Year. Also pictured are Practical Nursing instructors (fourth row, from left) Christy Wilson, Theresa Cole and Violet Lambert. For more information, contact Denita Thomas, Dean of Healthcare Education, 601-635-6294 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 294. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workouts are under way for the East Central Community College football squad in preparation for the 2013 campaign. The Warriors, shown during a recent intrasquad scrimmage, begin season action by traveling to Itawamba Community College Thursday, August 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Fulton campus. East Central is led by first-year head coach Ken Karcher.
A new coaching staff and a mostly freshman squad will take the field when East Central Community College’s Warriors officially begin the 2013 campaign at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 29 on the Itawamba Community College campus in Fulton.
Despite the challenges, first-year head coach Ken Karcher said the “new look” Warriors “hope to build a first-class program that will be competitive on a weekly basis.”
“We are very young but I am pleased with the first Warrior football team our staff has assembled,” said Coach Karcher. “We have a talented and very dedicated group of young men who will well represent East Central Community College and its many alumni. We look forward to competing in the always tough MS JUCO League.”
EC’s first “challenge” of the 2013 season will be outside the JUCO ranks. The Warriors and Belhaven University Blazers will scrimmage Friday, August 16, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the Belhaven field in Jackson.
Karcher, a 22-year coaching veteran and former NFL quarterback, spent the previous four seasons at Eastern Michigan University, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Although East Central represents his first stint in the JUCO league, Karcher said he looks forward to the opportunity.
“No matter what level, coaching is a life-changing business, and we look forward to helping these young men be the best football players they can be, and to help them further their career at a four-year institution or beyond,” said Coach Karcher. “That’s what coaching is: changing lives.”
Serving on Coach Karcher’s staff are Mickey Mays, offensive coordinator/offensive line; Scott Brock, defensive coordinator/linebackers; Todd Bates, defensive line/strength coach; Charles Jones, safeties; Eric Gray, corners/assistant strength coach; and Cody Wilson, tight ends/running backs.
“I am very excited about what each coach brings to the table,” said Coach Karcher. “Our players will be well prepared to compete to the best of their ability at every game.”
Top returnees on the offensive side include Martin Johnson, a 6-1, 200-pound running back and former first-team All-State selection at Nanih Waiya High School; Wesley Smith, a 6-2, 215-pound tight end/long snapper at Morton High School, where he received All-State and All-District honors; James Clark, a 6’, 192-pound wide receiver from Laurel High School, who garnered All-District accolades; and Kyron Samuels, a 6-2, 315-pound center from Fairhope (Ala.) High School, where he was an All-American, a three-time All-State selection and served as captain in the MS/AL All-Star Football Game.
Johnson saw limited action during the first half of the 2013 campaign but finished the season with impressive numbers.
His 67-yard touchdown run helped lead EC to a 26-21 homecoming victory over Hinds. Johnson’s best performance came in the home finale with Pearl River, when he rambled for 143 yards on 12 carries and one score. He had 21 rushes for 81 yards in the season finale at MS Gulf Coast.
Also considered a top offensive threat is sophomore transfer Hakeem Parker, a 6-4, 205-pound wide receiver from Joseph S. Clark High School in New Orleans, where he earned All-State and All-Metro honors.
On the defensive side, Karcher considers cornerback Chris Apperwhite as the top returnee.
Apperwhite is a 6’, 170-pound product of Laurel High School, where he received second team All-State and 4A All-District honors.
Austin Franklin returns to handle kicking and punting duties. Franklin averaged 36.4 yards per punt. His longest effort was a 55-yarder against Jones County. His best day as a kicker came in a 31-0 victory over MS Delta, when he drilled a 32-yard field goal and connected on all four PATs. Franklin is a 6’, 180-pound product of Petal High School, where he was a first team All-Metro selection on the 6A State Championship squad.
Other sophomores and their respective high schools include quarterback Donnie Fenmer (6’, 207), Harrison Central; tight end and All Area selection Layton Holcomb (6-2, 220), Oak Grove; and linebacker/defensive back Zachary Thigpen (5-9, 200), an All-State selection from Laurel.
Freshman players, their respective honors and high schools include long snapper Trent Haden (5-8, 195), All-District, Sumrall; quarterback Jacori Taylor (6-2, 210), first team All-State, Early County, GA; wide receiver Daniel Gregory (6-1, 190), All-District, New Hope; wide receiver Jimmie Saulsberry (6’, 180), Starkville; wide receiver Jimmy Cockrell (5-10, 170), first team All-State, Columbus; wide receiver/defensive back Desmond Grayson (5-11, 175), Meridian; tight end Tyler Pace (6-2, 260), All-State, All-Conference. All-District, Newton; tight end Brandon Davis (6’, 240) and nose guard Demetre McCleon (5-11, 260), both of Newton County; Lamarcus “Marko” Franks (5-5, 150), All-State and three-time team MVP, Greene County; running back Matthew Hicks (5-11, 206), Ocean Springs; guard Andy Morris (6-1, 260), All-District and District Defensive MVP; Amite School Center; offensive tackle Edward Delee (6-5, 290), All-District, All-Metro and Fab 15, Centreville Academy, Clinton, La.; center Quincy Cole (6’, 266), All-State, Ackerman; offensive/defensive lineman Jonathan Chambers (5-10, 275), second team All-State, offensive lineman of the year and most improved, West Oktibbeha HS, Dallas, Texas; offensive lineman KarDevin Thomas (5-11, 313), second team All-State, Super 24 OL and NEMS All-Star, Calhoun City; offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (6-3, 285), first team All Coast, Gulfport; offensive lineman Brody Martin (6-1, 250), All Conference, MAIS All-Star, Marshall Academy, Red Banks, MS; offensive tackle Charles Robinson (6-2, 280), Neshoba Central; defensive backs Blake Gordon (5-11, 196), defensive lineman Xavier Telfort (6-1,280) and defensive end Ronald Dixon (6-1, 210), all of Northwest Rankin; defensive back Anthony Ruffin (5-10, 185), All-State and three-time All-District, Kemper County; defensive back Blake Bateaste (5-8, 165), D’Iberville; defensive back Jabri Selmon (5-6, 165), Kosciusko; defensive back JaDerrick Farrow (5-11, 195), All-Region, All-State, MVP, Bleckley County, Cochran, GA; defensive back Sheppard Jones (5-8, 168), Lanier; cornerback Anthony Triplett (5-8, 150), two-time All-State selection, Philadelphia; cornerback Chris Thornton (5-7, 160), All-State, most valuable returner and linebacker Kendrick Maxwell (6’, 220), Super 22 Offensive Lineman and most improved defensive lineman, both of Houston; defensive back/strong safety Grant Landrum (5-11, 190), All-District, All-Conference, Sumrall; free safety Darrion Burnside (6-4, 185), All-State, All-District, Neshoba Central; free safety Phankezian Walker (6-2, 194), All-District and defensive end Anthony McGee (6-2, 240), both of Quitman; cornerback Zachery Bobbitt (5-8, 160), Meridian; linebacker Christian Wraggs (5-11, 192), defensive player of the year, Super 11, Louisville; linebacker Dewayne Lewis (5-10, 190), All-State, All-Region, Durant; linebacker Quanterris Newby (5-6, 210), All-State, All-District, New Hope; wide receiver/linebacker Chris Washington (6-5, 215), Lake; linebacker Thomas McCool (5-11, 220), All-State, All-District and defensive end K.D. Monroe (6-1, 260), All-Division, both of Neshoba Central; linebacker Matthew Moore (6-1, 222), defensive lineman/linebacker Daryl Rogers (6-3, 215) and defensive lineman/linebacker Joshua Brown (6’, 232), most valuable defensive lineman, all of Laurel; linebacker Tyler Armistad (5-11, 210), All-Region, Caledonia; linebacker/safety Isaiah Williams (6-3, 202), All-Metro and nose guard Xavier Woodard (6’, 350), both of Jim Hill; defensive tackle Jeremy Lindsey (6-1, 249), All-Division, Hamilton; defensive lineman Chris Yarbrough (5-9, 280), two-time All-District, Florence; defensive tackle Romario Cobb (6’, 260), Ocean Springs; and linebacker Lucas Morgan (6-3, 218), All-District, honorable mention All-State, Morton.
The Warriors battle longtime rival East Mississippi at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 in Scooba, and begin home action with MACJC South Division foe Copiah-Lincoln at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus.