Unless Hurricane Isaac has other ideas, East Central Community College’s football squad will launch the 2012 campaign Thursday by hosting Itawamba Community College in a non-division battle set for 6:30 p.m. at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus.
According to head coach Brian Anderson, the Warriors are ready for action, “whenever the game is played.”
“This team has the makings of the best team since I have been here,” said Anderson, who enters his third season as head mentor after serving the first year on an interim basis. “It’s the most experienced team we’ve had…with the best kicker…. a quality quarterback….a seasoned secondary… and defensive front that should provide an effective pass rush. Our offensive line will also be much improved. We feel very confident about this year’s team!”
Leading the Warrior offense will be freshman quarterback Colton Kane, a 6-4, 215-pound product of Navarre (Fla.) High School and a transfer from Florida Atlantic University.
“Colton is a big guy with a big arm who also has mobility,” said Anderson. “He is also a good decision maker and I feel confident that he has what it takes to successfully lead this football team.”
Anderson also praised freshman punter/kicker Austin Franklin, a 6’ 180-pound product of Petal High School.
“We are very pleased with Austin and consider him the best kicker since I’ve been here,” Anderson stated. “How he handles pressure in a game situation remains to be seen, but we are excited about him and what he brings to the position.”
Anderson said the success of this year’s team will also be determined by the leadership provided by the sophomore players.
His top offensive returnees include linemen Bart Whigham (6-4, 315) of Northview High School in Dothan, Ala., and Dustin Tubby (6-3, 315) of Neshoba Central; and wide receivers Keivondre Watford (6-4, 220) of Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Central and Brock Hall (6-3, 200) of Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa.
Returning defensive standouts include lineman Bradley Dorsey (6-6, 380) of Morton, end Lakenneth Weidman (6-5, 235) of South Leake; and safety Steffon Fuller (6-4, 175) of Kemper County.
In all, the Warriors have seven returnees on offense and five returning players on defense.
East Central will be looking for a second straight victory over Itawamba, as the Warriors rallied for a 24-17 victory in 2011. The Indians went 4-5 overall and finished fourth in MACJC North Division with a 4-2 mark under head coach Jon Williams, a former ECCC assistant.
The Warriors were 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the MACJC South Division in 2011.
Members of Coach Anderson’s staff and their respective areas of responsibility include Blake Frazier, defensive coordinator/linebackers; Kyle Watson, offensive line; Derek Pouncey, defensive line; Webb Hamilton, defensive backs; Donovan Tate, wide receivers; and Jarvis Cole, running backs. Anderson also serves as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The ECCC/Itawamba matchup can be heard on The Groove (98.3 FM) in Carthage, featuring veteran broadcasters Melvin Wooten and Gilbert Barham.