East Central Tops Southwest for First Victory

By: Louis Montesi, III Email
By: Louis Montesi, III Email

Keshun Shipp rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns in leading East Central Community College to a 16-10 victory over Southwest Mississippi Community College Thursday night at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus.

Shipp, a 5-9, 215-pound running back from Olive Branch, scored on a one-yard plunge with 20 seconds left before halftime and found the end zone on a 28-yard scamper early in third period action in leading the Warriors to their first win of the 2012 campaign.

East Central head coach Brian Anderson was obviously elated about his team’s accomplishment.

“I am so proud of our kids,” said Anderson, whose Warriors improved to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the MACJC South Division. “To see them pull out a game like this was very satisfying. They just wouldn’t be denied. It was really a great effort by everybody!”

Anderson was especially proud of the defense, which allowed just 78 rushing yards and made several key plays in keeping the Bears from scoring, including several goal line stands and two blocked field goals.

“Our defense was challenged to step up their game tonight and responded with a great effort,” said Anderson.

The Warriors were without the services of starting quarterback Colton Kane of Pensacola, Fla. who is recovering from a foot injury. Kane is a 6-4, 215-pound product of Navarre (Fla.) High School.

Back-up quarterback Zak Thrasher and wide receiver Brock Hall, a former high school signal caller, shared quarterbacking duties and both made several key plays in the division victory.

Thrasher, a 6-3, 200-pound product of New Hope High School, completed nine of 18 passes for 69 yards and had one interception. He also had 10 rushes for 46 yards.

Hall, a 6-2, 185-pound product of Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., completed three of seven passes for 29 yards. He also had two rushes for 37 yards and caught two passes from Thrasher for 37 yards.

“These guys did a great job managing the game,” said Anderson. “I was really proud of their effort.”

Southwest, which dropped to 0-3 and 0-1, took an early 3-0 lead on Paul Johnson’s 25-yard field goal with 5:23 left in the first period. Johnson is a product of Bay High School in Waveland.

EC had an opportunity to tie the contest but Austin Franklin’s 42-yard field goal attempt with 2:09 left in the initial period was wide left. Franklin is a freshman from Petal High School.

The Southwest advantage stood up until late in second quarter action when Shipp capped an 11-play, 69-yard march with his first tally. Franklin made the first of his two PATs.

EC began possession after defensive back Deante Lawrence tackled Southwest quarterback Schyler Walker during a fake field goal attempt with 3:15 left before halftime. Lawrence is freshman from Prattville (Ala.) High School.

Key plays during the EC scoring drive included Shipp’s 13-yard scamper to the Southwest 22 and Thrasher’s nine-yard strike to Hall on a third and four situation that gave EC possession on the five-yard line.

EC extended its lead to 14-3 early in the third stanza on Shipp’s second tally, set up by defensive back Chris Apperwhite’s interception and return of a Walker pass, which gave the Warriors possession on the Bears’ 29-yard line. Apperwhite is a product of Laurel High School.

The visitors closed the scoring gap to 14-10 on the ensuing possession with Walker and wide receiver Chris Cooley of Dexter High School combining talents on an eight-yard scoring strike, capping an 11-play, 74-yard drive.

EC had an opportunity to extend its lead early in fourth quarter action but Franklin’s 22-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

The Warriors missed out on another scoring opportunity with 7:35 left in the game when Franklin’s 38-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Another EC drive stalled at the Southwest eight-yard line when Thrasher’s pass was intercepted by the Bears’ Steven Joiner of Raymond.

However, it was the Warriors who took advantage of the mishap as linebacker Layton Holcomb sacked Walker in the end zone for a safety to complete scoring with 3:47 left in the contest. Holcomb is a freshman from Oak Grove.

EC held a 19-17 edge in first downs.

The Warriors had 260 yards rushing and 98 yards passing for a 358-yard total.

Keivondre Watford was the top receiver with five grabs for 41 yards. Watford is a product of Tuscaloosa Central High School.

In addition to the 78 yards rushing as previously mentioned, Southwest had 240 yards passing, as Walker completed 24 of 48 attempts.

Franklin averaged 37 yards on six punts.

Linebacker Blake Graves of Presbyterian Christian led the EC defense with eight tackles, followed by linebacker Cory Houck of Union County (Fla.) High School with seven stops.

Next up for the Warriors’ is a homecoming battle with Hinds Community College scheduled Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Bailey Stadium.

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