East Central Picks Up First Win of Season

East Central Community College's much-advertised new offense scored all the points it needed in the first half and the Warrior defense stymied the East Mississippi Community College offensive attack as East Central pitched a 26-0 shutout over its longtime rival Thursday night in Scooba.

The non-division victory was the first for East Central in 2005, while East Mississippi dropped to 0-2.

Warrior head coach Terry Underwood said after the game he was "very proud" of his team, which evened its record to 1-1 after falling 35-10 to the defending national champion Pearl River Community College in the season-opener.

"Our offense did a lot of great things and the defense did an outstanding job. This is a big win for us to build our confidence as we resume a tough district schedule," he stated.

Freshman running back David McCants, a product of Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County High School, scored all three of East Central's touchdowns on short runs.

His first tally came on a one-yard plunge with 2:58 left in the first period. Key plays during the eight-play, 45-yard march included a 16-yard pass play from quarterback Elijah McDonald of Morton to wide receiver Allen Stewart, a product of Holt (Ala.) High School, and a 24-yard screen pass from McDonald to wide receiver Lonnie Starks of Newport News, Virginia, which gave EC first and goal at the one. Ryan Gale, a product of Oak Mountain (Ala.) High School, added the first of his three PATs.

McCants scored twice in the second period, the first coming on a three-yard blast with 9:58 remaining until halftime and the other on a one-yard burst at the 8:11 mark.

Key plays during the first scoring drive of the second quarter - which covered 76 yards and took 13 plays- included McDonald's eight-yard scamper, a nine-yard strike from McDonald to receiver Chris Lark, a product of Pickens (Ala.) County High School, and an eight-yard pass from McDonald to receiver Letez Fortune of South Leake. A pass interference call also aided the Warrior drive on a third down play and gave East Central first down on the East Mississippi 16.

McCants' third tally was set up when Warrior defensive back Kris Thomas, a product of American (Fla.) Heritage High School, intercepted Lion quarterback Drew Harper's pass at the East Mississippi 31. After East Central was penalized five yards for illegal procedure, McDonald fired a 35-yard strike to Lark who stretched his 6-2 frame to make a leaping catch over two Lion defenders at the one-yard line.

A 25-yard field goal by Gale with 3:46 left completed first-half scoring, and East Central held a commanding 24-0 lead at halftime.

With the game at hand in the second half, East Central played a lot of back-ups. DeAngleo Carter of Noxapater and Josh Lowery of White County High School in Sparta, Tenn., saw action at quarterback. Lowery was especially impressive, as he completed a 30-yard strike to Stewart, a 13-yarder to receiver Lenny Boatner of Winston Academy and a six-yard completion to Fortune.

The Warrior defense - which limited East Mississippi to just 99 yards total offense, including minus 18 yards rushing - was credited with the game's final points when punter Hunter Porter was unable to handle the snap from center while punting from the end zone on fourth and 17 with 12:49 remaining in the contest.  Linebacker Paul Tolbert of Clinch (Ga.) County High School had earlier sacked the Lions' quarterback for a 13-yard loss setting up Porter's punt from the end zone.

East Central finished with 337 yards on offense, with 100 coming on the ground and 237 in the air. McCants was the leading rushing with 56 yards on 17 carries and three scores. McDonald completed 15 of 22 passes for 177 yards. Lark was the top receiver with four catches for 47 yards. The Warriors had 20 first downs.

The Warriors travel to Copiah-Lincoln Community College Saturday, October 8 for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on the Wesson campus. The Wolves won their season opener by defeating Northwest Mississippi Community College 16-6. Co-Lin is scheduled to entertain Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for homecoming on Saturday, October 1.

All Warrior football games can be heard on the College's website, www.eccc.edu and on KICKS 98 (98.3 FM) in Carthage, featuring veteran broadcasters Melvin Wooten and Gilbert Barham.

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