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.
Soccer matches will be played for the first time at night and on the new synthetic turf at Bailey Stadium when East Central Community College hosts Copiah-Lincoln Community College Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, on the Decatur campus.
The women’s contest is set for 5 p.m. and will be followed by the men’s battle at 7 p.m.
The Lady Soccer Warriors are 8-1-1 overall and sit atop the MACJC North Division standings at 3-0-1. Gray Massey is in his second year as head coach.
The Co-Lin women are 0-11 overall and 0-5-0 in the MACJC South Division.
EC’s Soccer Warriors are 5-5-0 overall and 1-3-0 in league play. Kenneth Thompson is in his 16th year as head coach.
The Co-Lin men are 2-9-0 overall and 0-4-0 in the South.
ECCC soccer coaches invite the public to attend the contests at Bailey Stadium and be a part of school history.
“We hope to fill the stands for this historic event,” said the two EC soccer coaches in a joint statement. “We appreciate everyone support as we continue our efforts to make EC soccer the best in the state.”
East Central Community College’s soccer squads recorded victories over Southwest Mississippi Community College teams in non-division action Friday, Sept. 26 on the Decatur campus.
The Lady Warriors cruised to a 4-0 shutout over the visiting Lady Bears and improved to 8-1-1 overall under head coach Gray Massey. The Southwest women fell to 2-10-0.
Allie Turner was top scorer for EC, as the freshman midfielder from Horn Lake tallied three goals and was credited with a scoring assist on Tamia Cavett’s goal. Cavett is a freshman forward from Jackson Murrah.
Gabby Stapp was credited with a scoring assist on Turner’s first goal, and Katelyn Denton received scoring assists on Turner’s final two goals. Stapp is a freshman midfielder from West Harrison High School and Denton is a freshman midfielder from Lewisburg.
The Lady Warriors currently sit atop the MACJC North Division standings with a 3-0-1 record. Northwest is second at 2-0-2.
In men’s action, the Warriors held on for a 2-0 decision and evened their record at 5-5-0 under head coach Kenneth Thompson. Southwest dropped to 2-10-0.
Seven East Central Community College athletic teams were recognized for academic excellence in 2013-14 by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart said the academic honors reflect the type of athletic program the College strives to achieve each year.
“I want to congratulate and thank our coaches and our student-athletes for their efforts in the classroom this year,” said Dr. Stewart. “They performed the EC Way - Excellence with Class, and I am so proud of each of them!”
The Lady Warrior fast-pitch softball team achieved a 3.54 grade point average and finished second in the nation.
Kristin Chaney serves as head coach.
The Lady Warrior soccer team had a 3.51 GPA and finished second nationally.
Gray Massey serves as head coach.
The Warrior soccer team achieved a 3.16 GPA and was ranked fourth nationally.
Kenneth Thompson is head coach.
The Lady Warrior tennis team earned a 3.58 grade point average and finished fourth in the nation.
The Warrior tennis squad posted a 3.25 GPA and was ranked 14th nationally.
Both programs are led by head coach Robert Thompson and adjunct coach Dianne O’Neill.
The Warrior baseball team finished 13th nationally with a 3.23 GPA.
Neal Holliman serves as head coach.
EC’s golfers posted a 3.14 GPA and placed 17th nationally.
Chris Clark is head coach.
For more information on ECCC’s athletic programs, contact Chris Harris, Dean of Personnel Services and Athletics, at 601-635-6401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Central Community College leads the nation in the number of community/junior college student-athletes receiving academic honors for 2013-14, according to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). According to the report, 24 ECCC student-athletes qualified for the special recognition.
ECCC honorees include four student-athletes who received the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.0 GPA); five student-athletes recognized for Superior Academic Achievement (3.8-plus GPA); and 15 student-athletes who earned Exemplary Academic Achievement honors (3.6-plus GPA).
“A great, big thank you goes to these 24 student-athletes for their hard work and commitment to their academic endeavors while playing their respective sport at ECCC,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “Also a great big thank you goes our faculty and staff for their support and encouragement of these students and their commitment to STUDENT SUCCESS and TEACHING and LEARNING.”
Recipients of the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence are former baseball players Maxwell Harmon of Meridian and Caleb Woods of Carthage, and former golf team members Aaron Tucker of Carthage and Sawyer Williams of Eldorado, Arkansas.
Student-athletes receiving NJCAA Awards for Superior Achievement include former women’s soccer players Kennedy Castleberry of Meridian; former women’s soccer and tennis player Alana Turner of Florence; former women’s tennis player Nan Hartness of Louisville; and former men’s soccer team members Jordan Walker of Decatur and Zach Killion of Crestwood, Kentucky.
Those who earned NJCAA Exemplary Awards for Excellence include former men’s soccer players Jesse Vaughn, Will Thompson and Russ Thompson, all of Decatur, and Taylor Potts of Bentonia; former women’s soccer players Miranda Clark of Philadelphia, Sydney Dawkins of DeKalb, Paige Gower of Meridian and Heather Johnson of Chunky; former men’s tennis player Brandon St. Clair of Newton; former women’s tennis player Hannah Smith of Carthage; former fast-pitch softball players Haley Stephens of Union and Kaylin Hopkins of Louisville; former baseball players Mason Woodrow of Taylorsville and Jacob Bush of West Blocton, Alabama; and former basketball player Shedrick Fair of Aberdeen.
The outstanding student-athletes will be recognized with other honorees in an upcoming issue of JUCO Review.
These former student-athletes at East Central Community College in Decatur were recognized for their academic success in 2013-2014 by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The NJCAA honors are presented in three categories – Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.0 Career GPA); Award for Superior Academic Achievement (3.79 – 3.99 Career GPA); and Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.60 – 3.79 Career GPA). EC honorees, shown prior to receiving diplomas at the College’s 2014 Commencement on May 10, include (seated from left) Alana Turner of Florence (women’s soccer and tennis), Superior Academic Achievement Kaylin Hopkins of Louisville (softball), Sydney Dawkins of DeKalb (women’s soccer), and Hannah Smith of Carthage (women’s tennis), all recipients of Exemplary Academic Achievement; Kennedy Castleberry of Meridian (women’s soccer), Superior Academic Achievement; and Paige Gower of Meridian (women’s soccer), Exemplary Academic Achievement; and (back row, from left) Sawyer Williams of El Dorado, Arkansas, (golf), Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence; Brandon St. Clair of Newton (men’s tennis), Miranda Clark of Philadelphia (women’s soccer), both recipients of Exemplary Academic Achievement; Jordan Walker of Decatur (men’s soccer), Superior Academic Achievement; and Will Thompson (men’s soccer), Russ Thompson (men’s soccer) and Jesse Vaughn (men’s soccer), all of Decatur and all recipients of Exemplary Academic Achievement. Not pictured are Maxwell Harmon of Enterprise (baseball), Aaron Tucker of Carthage (golf) and Caleb Woods of Carthage (baseball), all recipients of Pinnacle Awards for Academic Excellence; Nan Hartness of Louisville (women’s tennis) and Zachary Killion of Crestwood, Ky., both recipients of Superior Awards for Academic Achievement; and Hayley Stephens of Union (softball), Taylor Potter of Bentonia (men’s soccer), Heather Johnson of Chunky (women’s soccer), Mason Woodrow of Taylorsville (baseball) and Jake Bush of West Blocton, Ala., (baseball), all recipients of Exemplary Academic Achievement Awards.
Numerous East Central Community College student-athletes are recipients of academic honors awarded by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and MACJC (Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges).
ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart said academic honors received by the student-athletes reflect the type of athletic program the College strives to produce each year.
“East Central’s 2020 Vision includes a commitment to Student Success. The performance of these student-athletes demonstrates that we are making progress in realizing the commitment. I am also pleased that while 15 East Central student-athletes were nationally recognized for outstanding individual achievement last year, that number has increased to 24 student-athletes this year. Those numbers are remarkable for a college our size and I want to congratulate and thank our coaches and our student-athletes for their efforts in the classroom this year. They performed the EC Way – Excellence with Class, and I am proud of each of them.”
Added Chris Harris, Dean of Athletics and Personnel Services: “East Central Athletics are traditionally recognized as having some of the top performing student-athletes academically in the nation. This year is no different. This honor continues to be a tribute to our student-athletes, our coaches, our faculty and our administration. As a part of our expectations for our student-athletes, we will continue to develop student-athletes academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. It’s who we are!”
NJCAA ACADEMIC HONORS
On the national level, honors are presented in three categories – NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (for those achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average); NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement (3.79 to 3.99 GPA) and NJCAA Exemplary Award for Academic (3.60 to 3.79 GPA).
Student-athletes who received NJCAA Pinnacle Awards for Academic Excellence and their respective sport and hometown include Maxwell Harmon (baseball), Meridian; Aaron Tucker (golf), Carthage; Sawyer Williams (golf), Eldorado, AR; and Caleb Woods (baseball), Carthage.
Recipients of NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement include Kennedy Castleberry (women’s soccer), Meridian; Alana Turner (women’s soccer/women’s tennis), Florence; Nan Hartness (women’s tennis), Louisville; Zach Killion (men’s soccer), Crestwood, KY; and Jordan Walker (men’s soccer).
Selected to receive NJCAA Exemplary Awards for Excellence include Jesse Vaughn (men’s soccer) and Will Thompson (men’s soccer) and Russ Thompson (men’s soccer). all of Decatur; Brandon St. Clair (men’s tennis), Newton; Haley Stephens (fast-pitch softball), Union; Miranda Clark (women’s soccer), Philadelphia; Sydney Dawkins (women’s soccer), DeKalb; Taylor Potter (men’s soccer), Bentonia; Paige Gower (women’s soccer), Meridian; Heather Johnson (women’s soccer), Chunky; Mason Woodrow (baseball), Taylorsville; Kaylin Hopkins (fast-pitch softball), Louisville; Jacob Bush (baseball), West Blocton, Ala.; Hannah Smith (women’s tennis), Carthage; and Shedrick Fair (men’s basketball), Aberdeen.
MACJC ACADEMIC HONORS
Academic honors presented to student-athletes on the state level include MACJC Distinguished Academic All-State (those earning a 3.8 to 4.0 GPA) and MACJC Academic All-State (3.25 to 3.79 GPA).
ECCC recipients of MACJC Distinguished Academic All-State honors include Maxwell Harmon (baseball), Meridian; Aaron Tucker (golf), Carthage; Sawyer Williams (golf), Eldorado, AR; Caleb Woods (baseball), Carthage; Kennedy Castleberry (soccer), Meridian; Alana Turner (women’s soccer/women’s tennis), Florence; Zach Killion (men’s soccer), Crestwood, KY; Nan Hartness (women’s tennis), Louisville; Jordan Walker (men’s soccer), Decatur; and Brandon St. Clair (men’s tennis), Newton.
Those named MACJC Academic All-State include Will Thompson (men’s soccer), Jesse Vaughn (men’s soccer) and Russ Thompson (men’s soccer), all of Decatur; Haley Stephens (fast-pitch softball), Union; Miranda Clark (fast-pitch softball), Philadelphia; Taylor Potter (men’s soccer), Bentonia; Kaylin Hopkins (fast-pitch softball) and Megan Robinson (fast-pitch softball), both of Louisville; Sydney Dawkins (women’s soccer), DeKalb; Hannah Smith (women’s tennis), Carthage; Paige Gower (women’s soccer) and Claire Milling (women’s soccer), both of Meridian; Jacob Bush (baseball), West Blocton, Ala.; Heather Johnson (women’s soccer), Chunky; Morgan Luke (women’s soccer), Newton; Eliud Alvarez (men’s soccer), Forest; Mason Woodrow (baseball) and Conner West (baseball), both of Taylorsville; Martin Johnson (football), Nanih Waiya; Kendra Wilson (fast-pitch softball), Millport, Ala.; Lindsey Beard (fast-pitch softball), Clarkdale; Morgan Porter (fast-pitch softball), Enterprise; Ty Buckley (fast-pitch softball), Philadelphia); Amber Pierce (women’s tennis), Walnut Grove; Cojuante McMillian (baseball), Hamilton; and Mackenzie Britt (women’s soccer), Florence.
ELLISVILLE – The bracket has been set for this week’s Region 23 Baseball Tournament.
The top-ranked and MACJC state champion Jones County Junior College Bobcats will host the tournament at Community Bank Park.
Game 1 of the tournament will be at 2 p.m. Thursday between 2nd-ranked LSU-Eunice, 41-11, and MACJC runnerup Hinds, 32-18. Game 2 will be at 6 p.m. Thursday between MACJC champion JCJC, 43-9, and East Central, 23-27.
Game 3 will be between the losers of Games 1 and 2 at 2 p.m. on Friday. Game 4 will feature the winners of Games 1 and 2 at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Game 5 will feature the winner of Game 3 vs. the loser of Game 4 at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Game 6 will be the championship game between the winner of Game 4 vs. the winner of Game 5 at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Game 7, if necessary, will be played at 2 p.m. on May 17.
The winner of the tournament will advance to the NJCAA Division II World Series May 24-31 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Oklahoma.
All games in the Region 23 Tournament featuring JCJC will air on www.jcjc.tv.
Region 23 Tournament
Jones County Junior College
Community Bank Park
Game 1, LSU-Eunice, 41-11, vs. Hinds, 32-18, 2 p.m.
Game 2, Jones County, 43-9, vs. East Central, 23-27, 6 p.m.
Game 3, Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2 p.m.
Game 4, Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.
Game 5, Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 2 p.m.
Game 6, Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 6 p.m.
Game 7, If necessary, 2 p.m.