Turnovers and penalties proved costly for the East Central Community College Warriors who began MACJC South Division action with a 47-10 drubbing by Copiah-Lincoln Community College Thursday night at Stone Stadium on the Wesson campus.
East Central remains winless in three starts following the setback while the Wolves improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in league play.
The Warrior offense struggled throughout most of the division battle and was often stymied due to penalties. The lone touchdown came in the third stanza when freshman quarterback Colton Kane connected with speedy receiver Ricky Hunt on an 89-yard pass play that cut the Wolves’ lead to 20-10.
However, EC could get no closer as Co-Lin responded with four scores to seal the victory.
Kane, a former standout at Navarre (Fla.) High School and transfer from Florida Atlantic University, finished the night by completing 15 of 22 passes for 195 yards. He was also victim to five interceptions – the final pick coming on the last play of the game with the Warriors on the Co-Lin 24-yard line.
Hunt, who had another reception for minus one yard, was the leading EC receiver. The sophomore is a product of North Panola High School.
EC’s rushing attack was led by sophomore Keshun Shipp who compiled 88 yards on 16 carries. Shipp is a product of Olive Branch High School.
Freshman punter/kicker Austin Franklin of Petal was responsible for EC’s other points. He connected on a 25-yard field goal that narrowed the Co-Lin advantage to 20-3 with 7:09 left before halftime. The scoring drive was highlighted by Shipp’s 45-yard scamper. Franklin also kicked the PAT following the Warriors’ third quarter tally. Franklin punted six times for a 38-yard average. His longest effort was 44 yards.
In addition to the five interceptions, the Warriors were penalized 13 times for 96 yards, while the host Wolves had two infractions for 15 yards.
Co-Lin jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead following a 16-yard interception return by defensive back Greg Sims of Brookhaven with 5:29 left followed by a one-yard plunge by running back Darius Guy of Rosa Fort with 1:49 remaining. Guy set up his score with a 36-yard scamper to the EC one-yard line. Nolan Young of Ackerman made the first PAT but a mishandled snap from center nixed the second PAT attempt.
The Wolves stretched their lead to 20-0 early in second period action on Guy’s second tally – a five-yard burst set up by quarterback Chandler Rogers’ 42-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Darren Anderson to the EC five. Rogers is a sophomore signal caller from Brookhaven and Anderson hails from Bastrop, La. Long added the PAT.
After Franklin’s field goal made the score 20-3, the Warrior defense stiffened and a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Lakenneth Weidman of South Leake with 5:34 left before halftime provided EC with excellent field position near midfield. However, the drive stalled when Kane’s pass was again picked off by Sims on the Wolves’ 19-yard line.
EC’s defense held the Wolves on the first possession of the second half and the Warrior offense responded with Kane’s short pass to Hunt which resulted in the 89-yard scoring play.
The Wolves followed EC’s tally with a nine-play, 70-yard drive capped by Rogers’ nine-yard TD toss to receiver DeVante Scott of Ferriday (La.) High School with 6:20 remaining in the third stanza. Long’s PAT stretched the Wolves’ lead to 27-10.
Co-Lin took advantage of Kane’s third interception early in the fourth stanza, which gave the Wolves possession on the EC 23-yard line. The home team scored seven plays later on another TD strike from Rogers to Scott, this time from two yards out. Long connected on the PAT to extend the lead to 34-10. Rogers finished the night by completing 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and two scores.
On EC’s next possession, Kane’s pass was deflected and picked off and returned by Co-Lin defender Milton Griffin to the Warrior 36-yard line. The Wolves scored six plays later on freshman running back Van Lee’s 10-yard scamper with 6:50 left in the game. Lee is a product of Mendenhall High School. Long kicked the PAT to stretch the Co-Lin advantage to 41-0. The short scoring drive was aided by a personal foul penalty against the Warrior defense.
The Wolves put the final points on the scoreboard on freshman Casey Gladney’s 41-yard punt return. Gladney is from Glen Forest (S.C.) High School. The PAT was blocked.
Next up for the ECCC Warriors is a division battle with Southwest Mississippi Community College scheduled Thursday, Sept. 20. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus.
The Bears are 0-2 on the young season following losses to Itawamba (22-10) and East Mississippi (59-6). The season opener with Northwest was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac.