October 12, 2018
East Central defensive lineman Alvin Dempsey III rambles toward the end zone on a second quarter scoop and score against Gulf Coast. (EC Photo)
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs scored on their first two drives of the game to set the tone early and then survived a fourth quarter East Central Community College rally to pick up a 27-14 MACJC South Division football win over the visiting Warriors Thursday, Oct. 11, at George Sekul Field at A.L. May Memorial Stadium in Perkinston.
The fast-paced, no-huddle offense of the Bulldogs kept the East Central defense off balance most of the first half. Before the fans were settled good in their seats, Gulf Coast had a 13-0 lead.
Freshman quarterback Chance Lovertich picked up where he left off a week earlier when he threw six touchdown passes in a 56-7 win at Southwest. The product of Jackson Prep hit tight end Denzel Carter from five yards out to cap a 73-yard, six-play drive to open the game. After an eight-yard punt by East Central, Gulf Coast took over on the Warrior 44 and nine plays later Lovertich connected with Carter from the three. With 6:23 still to play in the first quarter the Bulldogs led 13-0.
East Central eventually got on the scoreboard with 7:26 to play in the first half when defensive lineman Alvin Dempsey III (Port St. Joe, Fla.) scooped up a Bulldog fumble and returned it seven yards for the score. The PAT by Sam Cox (Starkville Academy) was good and the Gulf Coast lead was cut to 20-7.
Gulf Coast would add another score with 3:30 to play in the second quarter on a 65-yard, 10-play drive that ended with a two-yard run by Terrion Avery to take what appeared to be a commanding 27-7 lead into the locker room.
The East Central offense, however, would control the football in the second half. The Warriors drove inside the Gulf Coast 10-yard line three times, but could only come away with seven points. A fumble at midfield stopped another drive.
It looked as if East Central would get back into the game quickly on its opening drive of the third quarter. The Warriors drove 69 yards and took 10 minutes off the clock, but the drive stalled when East Central failed to convert on a fourth and seven from the Bulldog nine.
The Warriors wouldn’t be denied the next time they got the football, driving to the Gulf Coast four-yard line. On fourth and goal, quarterback Brady Anderson (Brandon) hit freshman running back Marcus Hooks (St. Petersburg, Fla.) for the touchdown. The PAT was good and East Central trailed 27-14.
Moments later after forcing just the second Gulf Coast punt of the game, East Central drove from its 33 to the Bulldog eight-yard line. Facing another fourth and goal, the Gulf Coast defense came up with a big stop to preserve the 27-14 win.
East Central controlled the time of possession for the game with 37 minutes to 22 for Gulf Coast and ran 22 more plays on offense. The Warriors had 22 first downs to 16 for the Bulldogs. East Central has 297 yards of total offense to 328 for Gulf Coast.
The sophomore Anderson went the distance at quarterback for East Central ahead of fellow sophomore Mario Asagunla who has taken most of the snaps this season. Anderson hit 20 of 34 passes for 163 yards and the one score. Running back James Smith III (Velma Jackson, Camden) rushed 13 times for 83 yards before leaving the game in the second half with an injury. Freshman wide receiver Jaylen Zachery (Dayton, Ohio) had four receptions for 48 yards.
Sophomore free safety Daniel Little of Terry picked off a Gulf Coast pass in the first half.
The loss dropped the Warriors to 3-4 overall on the season and 2-2 in MACJC South Division play. Gulf Coast improved to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the division.
East Central has lost 15 of the last 16 games against Gulf Coast. The lone win during that time was a 42-28 home victory in 2016.
The Warriors play their fifth, and final, road game of the season next Thursday. East Central and Hinds will square off in a South Division game at Gene Murphy Field at Joe Renfroe Stadium in Raymond. Kickoff for Hinds’ Homecoming game is set for 7 p.m.
The game can be heard on WKOZ Cruisin 98.3 or via audio stream and live stream video at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.
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East Central quarterback Brady Anderson’s pass finds an opening between Gulf Coast linemen in first half action. (EC Photo)