September 8, 2017
East Central freshman defensive end Telayes Cole (92) out of Newton County High School brings down the Northeast quarterback in first half action. Cole led all East Central tacklers in the game. (EC Photo)
East Central Community College relied on a touchdown pass from a freshman quarterback in the second overtime period to pull off a 27-20 upset over No. 16 Northeast Mississippi Community College Thursday, Sept. 7, in Booneville.
The game was played in Tiger Stadium on the Northeast campus.
Freshman Mario Asagunla hit sophomore wide receiver Antonio Gibson with an 11-yard scoring strike to start the second overtime. The Warrior defense then held Northeast out of the end zone on four plays for the 27-20 win.
The two teams were tied 20-20 at the end of regulation. Northeast got the football first in the extra period but missed a 29-yard field goal attempt. On East Central’s first possession, the Warriors drove to the Tiger one but fell just short of the goal line on a fourth and one play.
East Central was forced to turn the offense over to two true freshman quarterbacks after starter Quentin Gibson suffered an injury late in last week’s 49-14 loss at Holmes. Jacob Carter, who prepped at Pontotoc High School, and Asagunla out of Hillcrest Christian in Jackson split time under center for the Warriors.
The Warriors got in the end zone first in the ballgame with 5:39 to go in the first quarter on a one-yard run by sophomore running back Dwayne Barnett out of Harrison Central. The drive covered 79 yards in 14 plays, including 11 straight on the ground as the Warrior runners pounded out yards against the Northeast defense. Zach Engell out of Lamar School was good on the point after.
Northeast quickly tied the score at 7-7 just moments later. On East Central’s next possession, punter Drake Pace bobbled the snap from center and had to fall on the football at the Warrior six. One play later, Kenzie Phillips found the end zone for Northeast with 3:10 left in the first quarter.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively the remainder of the first half.
East Central opened the second half with a bang. Northeast had driven to the Warrior 36 when sophomore defensive end Olivier Niyungeko knocked the ball free from the Northeast quarterback and scooped it up and rambled 60 yards for the score. The point after was no good, and East Central led 13-7.
Northeast immediately answered on the Tigers’ next drive running 18 plays and taking nearly nine minutes off the clock. Quentin Frazier scored from the two, but the Tigers also missed the point after kick to keep the score knotted at 13-13.
Northeast grabbed its first lead of the game with 8:36 to play in the game on a six-yard run by Phillips. The 12-playm 54-yard drive took another five minutes off the clock.
On its next possession, East Central put together its own sustained drive, going 65 yards in eight plays capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by sophomore Mikell Daniels out of Forest. The PAT tied the game again 20-20 with 5:21 to play and ensure an overtime.
Daniels led the Warriors on the night with 129 yards rushing. Asagunla was 4 of 8 through the air for 30 yards and the one score. Freshman defensive end Telayes Cole out of Newton County High School had a game-high 14 total tackles, while sophomore linebacker Willie Bates of Brookhaven added 11 and sophomore more defensive back Xavier Williamson out of Heidelberg had 10 stops.
With the win, East Central improves to 1-1 on the season. Northeast fell to 0-2.
Northeast opened the season ranked No. 9 in the National Junior College Athletic Association top 20, its highest ever preseason ranking, before being upset last week 27-21 at Pearl River. Rt5
After two straight road trips, East Central will finally get to play in front of the home fans next Thursday, Sept. 14. The opponent will be MACJC South Division foe Pearl River Community College. Kickoff from Bailey Stadium in Decatur is 6:30 p.m.
Score by Quarter:
A big hole opens for Warrior sophomore running back Dwayne Barnett in East Central’s first scoring drive of the game against Northeast. (EC Photo)
Sophomore corner Xavier Williamson makes one of his 10 defensive stops against Northeast. (EC Photo)