ICC wins third-straight over rival Northeast
October 23, 2012
BOONEVILLE, MS – Itawamba Community College sophomore linebacker Brandon Smith (Aberdeen) earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in the Indians’ third-straight win over Northeast Mississippi Community College on Saturday.
“This game is huge and means something to our players,” said ICC head coach Jon Williams. “This is our biggest rivalry and the guys really got up to play this game and they showed it getting ready for the game and that carried over to our performance on the field.”
Smith had five tackles, two tackles for a loss of eight yards, one sack for a loss of five yards, one interception returned 42 yards for a touchdown, two fumble recoveries that set up a pair touchdowns and returned a blocked punt 23 yards to set up another score in a 36-15 rout of the Tigers (2-6, 1-4 MACJC North).
The Indians (5-3, 3-2 MACJC North) took an early 8-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Griff Loftis (Mooreville) to a leaping Rashad Pargo (Aberdeen) after Smith recovered a fumble forced by Fred Ward (Aberdeen) on a NECC punt attempt. The Tigers blocked the ensuing extra point attempt, but Pargo scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for the two-point conversion.
ICC extended its lead to 15-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first quarter when pressure by Quad Freeman (Guntown) forced an errant throw that was picked off by Smith and returned 42 yards for a touchdown after a devastating block by Freeman.
“Quad got pressure on the quarterback and made him put some extra air under the pass that gave me enough time to get to the ball,” Smith said of the interception. “I had one guy to beat, but he had a pretty good angle on me until Quad put a big hit on him for me to be able to take it to the house.”
Smith’s second fumble recovery set up Loftis for his second touchdown pass of the game when he found Sanford Seay (Albany, GA) for a 42-yard scoring strike at the 13:09 mark of the second quarter before Smith returned a blocked punt 23 yards to set up a 12-yard touchdown pass to Demarius Howard (Calhoun City).
“The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all day long and the receivers did a great job of running good routes and getting open to make my job much easier,” said Loftis, who finished the game with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 14-of-20 passing.
Northeast downed the opening kickoff of the second half in the end zone after catching the ball at the three-yard line to give the Indians a 31-8 edge before Tyler Jackson (Oxford) booted a 22-yard field goal and Pat Malone sacked the quarterback for a safety in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a great job setting the tone by scoring points off turnovers and keeping constant pressure on them early in the game,” said Williams. “I was disappointed with our effort in the second half because I felt like we took off the gas and put it in cruise control after halftime, but anytime you can beat your rivals it’s always a good win.”
The Tigers’ defense recorded a safety and returned a fumble 30 yards in the first half and the offensive avoided a shutout when they scored on a five-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes of the game.
The Indians totaled 236 yards of offense (73 rushing; 163 passing) while holding the Tigers to 198 yards of total offense (50 rushing; 148 passing) behind a 17-tackle, 4-sack performance from Freeman along freshman CJ Jackson recording 10 tackles, three sacks for a loss of 15 yards and four tackles for a loss of 18 yards.
The competition ramps up next week as the Indians play host to defending MACJC State and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Champion East Mississippi Community College(8-0, 5-0 MACJC North) for Homecoming on Saturday.
“We would like to enjoy the win over our rivals a little longer, but we know we have an extremely tall task waiting for us this weekend,” Williams said. “East Mississippi sets the bar for where teams in our league and all across the nation want to be. We are looking forward to the challenge of preparing our players for this game and hopefully that preparation will let them see what it takes to perform at a championship level.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. while the induction ceremony to the Athletic Hall of Fame for Carrie Ball-Williamson and Jason Ferguson while be held as part of the pregame ceremonies and the Homecoming Court will be presented during halftime.
For more information on ICC football and the nine other intercollegiate athletic programs visit www.LetsGoICC.com.