ECCC Warriors Fall to Pearl River 37-7 in Home FinaleOctober 19, 2012
Hopes for a winning season faded early Thursday night for the East Central Community Warriors who were unable to overcome a 17-0 halftime deficit, turnovers, penalties and a Pearl River Community College offensive attack led by sophomore quarterback Dylan Favre, a nephew of former NFL star Brett Favre.
Although the Warriors trimmed the deficit to 17-7 early in the third stanza on Martin Johnson’s electrifying 75-yard scamper to pay dirt, EC could get no closer and fell 37-7 on Sophomore Appreciation Night at Bailey Stadium on the Decatur campus.
EC and Pearl River are both 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the MACJC South Division following the league battle. The Warriors conclude the 2012 season as homecoming guests of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Saturday, October 27. Kickoff for the division battle is set for 2 p.m. on the Perkinston campus.
The Bulldogs are 6-1 overall and 3-1 in league play prior to taking on division leader Copiah-Lincoln Community College (6-1, 4-0) Saturday, Oct. 19 in Wesson.
The recognition of Warrior sophomores during pre-game activities was preceded by delivery of the game ball by an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter, which landed at midfield. Flight nurse and EC alumnus Courtney Townsend of Forest presented the game ball to EC President Dr. Billy Stewart. She was accompanied by paramedic Brian Taylor of Conehatta, also an EC alumnus. The medical helicopter is based in Demopolis, Ala., and services most of Mississippi and Alabama.
On a perfect night for football, EC’s offense had more than its share of misfortunes and was unable to take advantage of early scoring opportunities.
Freshman kicker Austin Franklin of Petal was wide left on his 43-yard field goal attempt with 7:14 left in the first period, and another scoring threat was nixed on EC’s subsequent possession when a pass from sophomore quarterback Brock Hall was intercepted in the end zone by Wildcat defensive back Travonte Fenton of Oak Grove late in the first stanza and returned to the PRC 11 yard line. Hall is a product of Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa.
The Wildcats took advantage of the Warrior miscue with an 89-yard, 10-play drive, capped by Favre’s four-yard TD toss to wide receiver Kris Riley of Orange Park, Fla. The drive was aided by a 41-yard jaunt by running back Cheeto Johnson of Forrest County AHS to the EC 29 followed by a roughing-the-passer penalty which gave the visitors first and goal at the Warrior seven. Brandon King of Florence connected on the first of his four PATs.
Pearl River stretched is lead to 14-0 on a 69-yard halfback pass from Darius Holder of Lumberton to wide receiver Akeem Pollard of Petal with 6:20 left before halftime. The tally followed defensive back Leon Carlton’s interception of a Hall pass at the Pearl River six. Carlton is from Hoover, Ala.
The Wildcats closed out first-half scoring on Mike Allizzo’s 31-yard field goal with three seconds left. Allizzo is an Ocean Springs product.
EC closed the scoring gap to 17-7 on Johnson’s 75-yard scamper to begin the second half. Martin is a freshman running back from Nanih Waiya. Franklin added the PAT.
The Wildcats responded with Favre’s 51-yard scramble to pay dirt on third and seven with 10:49 left in the third stanza. Favre is a Mississippi State University transfer and product of St. Stanislaus High School.
Now down 24-7, EC took possession on its 26 yard-line and quickly drove to the Pearl River 13, highlighted by Hall’s 22-yard strike to wide receiver Keivondre Watford of Tuscaloosa Central to the Wildcat 39. Hall’s 12-yard scramble and subsequent penalty for a late hit set up a scoring opportunity at the 13. But the drive stalled and Franklin’s 37-yard field goal attempt was wide left with 6:42 still remaining in the third.
The Wildcats padded their lead to 31-7 on the ensuing possession, with Favre connecting with Johnson on a six-yard TD pass with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
EC tried a little trickery on the ensuing kickoff with Johnson emerging from a cluster of players for an 81-yard run to the PRC 14, but the play was nullified due to an illegal forward handoff, according to officials.
The Warriors began possession on their three-yard-line as a result of the penalty but quickly drove into Wildcat territory thanks to Hall’s 55-yard completion to Ricky Hunt of North Panola. But the Warriors later fumbled and Pearl River took possession at its 38.
Pearl River took advantage of the miscue with Allizzo’s 40-yard field goal early in the final stanza.
The game’s final points came on King’s 35-yard field goal with 6:27 left, set up by Wildcat Emmanuel Ray’s interception of a Zak Thrasher pass at the EC 32-yard line. Ray is from Lumberton. Thrasher is a product of New Hope High School.
Hall completed nine of 26 passes for 139 yards and three interceptions. Thrasher connected one of five attempts for 12 yards and had one pick.
Hunt was the top receiver with five catches for 72 yards. Watford had two grabs for 43 yards.
Johnson was the leading rusher with 12 carries for 143 yards and one score.
Johnny Beamon had 17 carries for 81 yards. Beamon is a product of New Hope High School.
Hall rushed 10 times for 39 yards.
Franklin averaged 37 yards on three punts.
EC was assessed 11 times for 95 yards and Pearl River was penalized nine times for 100 yards.
Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 200 yards and two scores. Holder completed one pass for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Jones was the top receiver with six catches for 94 yards.
Cheeto Johnson was the Wildcats’ top rusher with 20 carries for 91 yards.
Linebacker Cory Houck led the EC defensive with seven tackles. Houck is a product of Union County (Fla.) High School.
Defensive lineman Martaze Jackson of Demopolis was credited with six tackles.