ECCC Warriors Fall 23-0 to Nationally Ranked Co-LinSeptember 14, 2013
Led by third-string quarterback Anthony Triplett, East Central Community College’s injury-plagued Warriors faced their third-straight nationally-ranked opponent in the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolfpack Thursday night in Decatur.
After exchanging early turnovers, Triplett – who is listed on the roster as a defensive back – engineered a 13-play, 68-yard drive only to have the scoring threat nullified due to a Warrior fumble near the goal line.
EC’s offense was unable to recover from the early miscue and the sixth-ranked and defending MACJC State Champion Wolves struggled early offensively as well but managed to seal the victory with two second-half scores and a 23-0 victory in the MACJC South Division opener for both squads.
First-year Warrior head coach Ken Karcher said the early turnover was a momentum changer for his young squad.
“I thought if we knocked the first one in there, down on the one-yard line where we fumbled, it’s a different ball game,” Karcher said following the squad’s home opener at Bailey Stadium. “You can’t make those mistakes against a good football team. Our kids will continue to get better and not make those mistakes, but that’s a key point in the ball game right there.”
Triplett, a 5-8, 150-pound freshman, finished the night by completing nine of 16 passes for 78 yards and had two interceptions. One of his interceptions nixed a scoring threat early in the third period with the visitors up 16-0.
Karcher praised the performance of the young signal caller, who was called to action due to injuries sustained by sophomore Donnie Farmer of Harrison Central in Gulfport and freshman Jacori Taylor, a product of Early County High School in Blakely, Ga.
“I thought Anthony brought some life to our football team,” Karcher said of the Philadelphia High School product. “I thought all the players fought hard and showed much improvement from the previous two games.”
EC began the 2013 campaign with a 40-7 loss to then 16th-ranked Itawamba followed by a 59-0 defeat to fifth-ranked East Mississippi.
The Warrior offense was also sparked by freshman speedster Lamarcus Franks, who was the top rusher with 89 yards on 17 carries. Franks is a 5-7, 150-pound product of Greene County High School.
Sophomore Martin Johnson had eight carries for 28 yards. Johnson is a 6-1, 200-pound product of Nanih Waiya High School.
James Clark was EC’s top receiver, as the 6’, 192-pound sophomore from Laurel High School hauled in three catches for 41 yards.
Sophomore punter Austin Franklin of Petal had three punts, including a 49-yarder late in second half action.
Freshman Desmond Grayson led EC in kickoff returns with 91 yards on four attempts. Grayson is a 5-11, 175-pound wide receiver from Meridian High School.
Co-Lin was led by sophomore running back Kelton Smith who had three touchdowns – a seven-yard run in the first period followed by one-yard scoring plays in the third and fourth stanzas. Smith, a 5-11, 205-pound product of Copiah Academy, finished with 86 yards on 15 carries.
Blayne Jones made two of three PATs and gave Co-Lin a 3-0 lead with his 25-yard field goal in the second quarter. Jones is a 5-10, 160-pound freshman from St. Joseph High School.
Wolfpack quarterback Daniel Fitzwater completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 181 yards. Fitzwater is a 6-6, 230-pound freshman from Calvary High School in Shreveport, La.
EC travels to division opponent Southwest Mississippi Community College Thursday, Sept. 19. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Southwest campus.
The Bears (1-2) fell 69-0 to East Mississippi Thursday, Sept. 12 in Scooba.