September 29, 2017
Freshman running back James Smith III breaks free on an 80-yard screen pass and score in the second quarter against Co-Lin. (EC Photo)
A 45-yard field goal with just 1:48 showing on the clock lifted the Copiah-Lincoln Wolves to a 27-24 win over the East Central Community College Warriors Thursday, Sept. 28, in Bailey Stadium in Decatur.
East Central had fought back from a 24-14 halftime deficit to tie the game at 24-24 late in the third quarter, before the Co-Lin defense stiffened and held the Warriors without a first down in the final quarter.
Co-Lin’s Griffin Sublett was true on his game-winning field goal to break the tie and give the Wolves a 27-24 MACJC South Division win on Black Out Bailey night.
Co-Lin has won the last nine meetings between the two schools, including 34-23 last year in Wesson after ECCC took a 23-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Co-Lin would exert itself early in the game by scoring on its first two possessions to take a quick 10-0 lead. The Wolves got a 27-yard field goal off the toe of Sublett and a 43-yard touchdown pass from Auburn transfer Woody Barrett to a wide open tight end TK McClendon.
On the ensuing kickoff, East Central would strike quickly to cut the deficit to 10-7. Sophomore running back Mikell Daniels out of Forest scored from the five to cap a five-play, 65-yard drive. Quarterback Mario Asagunla out of Hillcrest Christian in Jackson hit tight end Chris Deloach from Columbus for 27 yards and tight end Nigel Wood from Petal for 35 yards on the drive.
The Wolves would move in front 17-7 just before the first quarter would end on an eight-yard pass from Barrett to wide receiver Jemarcus Weatherall that capped an eight-play, 65-yard drive.
After an exchange of punts, the Warriors needed just one play to score. Freshman running back James Smith III out of Velma Jackson took a screen pass from Asagunla, reversed field a couple of times, and raced 80 yards to the end zone. The point after by Zach Engell, a product of Lamar School in Meridian, cut the score to 17-14 with 11:31 still to play in second quarter.
East Central would threaten one more time in the first half after sophomore defensive lineman Jamari Smith out of Leake Central forced Barrett to fumble and the Warriors recovered on their own 44. The Warriors drove to the Wolves’ 31 before the drive stalled and they were forced to punt.
Co-Lin immediately drove 86 yards to extend its lead back to 10 points, 24-14, just before the half. A six-yard keeper by Barrett with just :49 showing on the clock in the first half ended the 12 play, 86-yard drive.
East Central would control the third quarter scoring. Freshman corner Keonte’ Daniels from Noxapater stepped in front of a Hayden Davis pass and raced 33 yards untouched to the end zone with 7:19 to play in the third quarter. The PAT by Engell made the score 24-21.
The Warriors would tie the game the next time they had the football on a 36-yard field goal by Engell. The 13-play drive took over six minutes off the clock.
Sublett’s field goal would win the game for Co-Lin as the East Central offense could get no closer than its own 38-yard line the remainder of the game.
East Central dropped to 1-4 on the season with the loss and 0-3 in MACJC South Division play. Co-Lin, which opened the season ranked No. 18 in the nation and moved as high as No. 13, improved to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the South Division.
For the game, Asagunla finished 11-of-23 through the air for 199 yards and one score. Eight different Warriors caught passes, including Deloach with two for 31 yards and freshman Octavious Olowo-ake from Jackson Murrah with three for 22 yards.
As a team, the Warriors picked up 13 first downs to 21 for Co-Lin. The Wolves compiled 419 yards of offense to 213 for East Central.
Freshman linebacker Tanner Bullock, who prepped at Houston High School, totaled 11 tackles in the game for East Central, while freshman defensive lineman Landon Keely from Enterprise was credited with a quarterback sack for a 10-yard loss.
It was also Be Our Guest night at East Central and all area high school students were admitted free to the game.
East Central will go on the road next week for the fourth time in six games this season. The Warriors will face Jones County in Ellisville on Thursday, Oct. 5, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. in Bobcat Stadium. The following Thursday, East Central will travel to Raymond to play Hinds at 7 p.m. Both are MACJC South Division contests.
Score by Quarter:
East Central defenders swarm a Co-Lin running back in the MACJC South Division contest in Decatur. (EC Photo)
Running back Mikell Daniels breaks free on a first half run. The sophomore from Forest scored East Central’s first touchdown of the game. (EC Photo)
Freshman wide receiver Kevontaye Caston fights by Co-Lin defenders in first half action. (EC Photo)