Saturday, October 31, 2015

No. 2 Northwest Gets Late TD to Defeat No. 17 ECCC in State Semifinals

It took a fourth quarter touchdown for the No. 2 ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers to put away a determined East Central Community College Warrior football team today and earn a 27-20 win in the semifinals of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges state playoffs. The game was played on a rainy and windy afternoon at Bobby Franklin Field in Senatobia.
East Central freshman running back Tredarian Gamble rumbles for some of his 85 first half rushing yards at Northwest.

No. 17 East Central finished the season 7-3, the best won-loss record for the Warriors since 1999. It was the Warriors first appearance in the state playoffs since 2001.

Northwest improved to 9-1 overall and will face Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the state finals Nov. 7.

Northwest would get on the scoreboard first, taking the opening kickoff and driving to the East Central six-yard line, before the Warrior defense stiffened and held the Rangers to a 23-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

East Central took the lead on its first possession of the game on a
58-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jesse Hosket out of French Camp Academy to tight end Jordan Thomas. The Warriors converted two fourth downs on the 14-play drive. The extra point by Aaron Garrett, a product of Meridian High School, gave East Central an early 7-3 lead. Thomas, out of Sumrall High School, committed on Friday to play at Mississippi State next season.

The Warriors extended the lead to 14-3 on their second possession of the game on a one-yard run by freshman running back Tredarian Gamble out of Oxford High School (Ala.). East Central covered 61 yards in nine plays, mostly on the ground.

Northwest closed the gap to 14-10 with just three seconds left in the first half on a five-yard pass from Gardner Minshew to Marquisian Chapman. The Rangers benefited from a Warrior fumble deep in their own territory to get possession on the East Central 20 as time was expiring.

As the rain stopped falling to begin the third quarter, Northwest took advantage of two short East Central punts to take the lead.

Following a 22-yard Garrett punt, Northwest set up play on the
Warrior 44-yard line. Two plays later, Minshew hit a wide open Jacob McCrary on a 41-yard touchdown pass and the Rangers led 17-14.

Garrett’s punt on the Warriors’ next possession traveled just 23 yards and Northwest was in business on the East Central 36-yard line. The Rangers settled for a 28-yard field goal and a 20-14 lead.

Lightning struck on the ensuing kickoff in the name of Henri Murphy. The freshman out of Dollarway High School in Pine Bluff, Ark., took the Northwest kick and sprinted 90 yards untouched for the score. The PAT was blocked and the score was tied 20-20 with 6:48 to go in the third quarter.

Minshew would then throw his second touchdown pass of the
Warrior quarterback Jesse Hosket hands 
off to Tredarian Gamble in a steady downpour 
during MACJC semifinal action against 
Northwest in Senatobia Oct. 31.
afternoon to Chapman, this time with 6:11 left in the game to take the lead for good at 27-20. The play covered six yards to finish off an 11-play, 80-yard game-winning drive.

The weather made for an interesting afternoon for kickers from both team, with the Warriors missing two field goals, one in each half.

East Central managed 226 total yards on the afternoon to Northwest’s 350.

Gamble led the Warriors with 115 yards rushing and one touchdown. Linebacker Eric McPherson out of Jim Hill High School had six tackles for East Central, including four tackles for the loss.