ECCC holds on to defeat Southwest


Sparked by the two touchdowns and the running of James Smith III, the East Central Community College Warriors held on to defeat the Southwest Mississippi Bears 28-21 in the home football opener Thursday, Sept.13, in Bailey Stadium in Decatur.

Smith rushed for 138 yards and one score and raced 62 yards with a screen pass for another touchdown to power the East Central offense.

The Warriors held a 28-14 lead with less than two minutes to go in the game and had to survive a Southwest touchdown and a fumbled kickoff in the waning seconds for the MACJC South Division win.

East Central is now 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in MACJC South Division play. Southwest dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.

It was Be Our Guest night in Bailey Stadium as hundreds of area high school students were in attendance as guests of East Central.

The Bears got on the scoreboard first with a five-yard touchdown run from Zarious Keyes late in the first quarter. The Warriors answered almost immediately. Quarterback Brady Anderson hit Smith with a screen pass and he raced 62 yards for the score. The PAT was no good, and Southwest led 7-6.

East Central took the lead for good in the second quarter on a seven-play, 64-yard drive that ended with quarterback Mario Asagunla sneaking in from the one. JohnTavis McClelland carried for the two-point conversion and the Warriors led 14-7. The running of Smith and a 14-yard pass from Asagunla to freshman tight end Jamarvis Echols were keys in the drive.

The Warriors extended their lead to 21-7 with 5:56 to go in the first half on a four-yard run by Smith. Sam Cox kicked the extra point.

Running the spread option offense, the Bears took the second half kickoff and consumed nearly 10 minutes of the clock on a drive that ended on the Warrior 26 and a missed 43-yard field goal attempt.

The Bears would find the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by quarterback Da’Byran Magee. The PAT was no good and the Warriors led 21-13.

The Warriors answered on their next drive when Asagunla hit Echols from 13 yards out for the score and the 28-13 lead. It was Asagunla’s seventh touchdown pass in the first three games.

Southwest would make the game interesting with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Magee to Ladarrious Williams with 1:17 to play. The two-point conversion made the score 28-21.