Warriors trample Mohawks, 46-28 in homecoming victory
Tribune Sports Staff
East Poinsett County came out of the gates fast Friday night, scoring on their first four possessions as the Warriors rolled to a 46-28 Homecoming victory over the Piggott Mohawks to retain their one half game lead in 3AA Conference football.
Sophomore quarterback Brett Hardin completed 7-13 passes for181 yards and three touchdowns while rushing six times for 42 yards and another score in leading the Warriors to 408 yards of total offense.
The Warriors struck first as they took the opening kickoff and marched 48 yards in four plays, with senior wide receiver Ked Madden taking an option pitch from Hardin and racing eight yards for the touchdown with 10:43 left in the opening quarter. The two-point pass play failed, leaving EPC with a six-point lead.
Piggott came right back with a touchdown drive of their own and took their only lead of the game when tailback T.J. Harris scored on a four-yard run with 6:36 left in the first quarter. Brandon Mann added the PAT to give the Mohawks a 7-6 lead.
The Warriors came back to take the lead for good at the 5:43 mark of the first period when Hardin found senior wide receiver Keun Joplin for a 25-yard touchdown strike. Madden ran in the two-point try and the Warriors had the lead for good at 14-7. EPC scored again with 1:36 left in the opening period when Hardin raced 15 yards untouched into the end zone to make the score 20-7. The point after attempt was no good.
The Warriors struck once more with 10:10 left in the half on a one-yard plunge by junior fullback Joseph Peridore. The point after attempt was blocked and, after reeling off 20 unanswered points, EPC took a 26-7 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
After the half, EPC stretched their lead to 34-6 with 8:24 left in the third period as Hardin found junior wide receiver Dee Hendrix open for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Peridore added the PAT. EPC continued to roll as Micheal Jackson scored from two yards out, giving the Warriors a 39-6 lead with 2:31 left in the third period.
Piggott finally got on the board again early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Logan Ballard scrambled for 20 yards and a touchdown, and with Mann's successful point after attempt the Mohawks cut the lead to 39-14.
EPC dashed any hopes of a Mohawk comeback when on their next possession, Hardin, facing fourth-and-eight from the Piggott 39-yard line, found Chris Davis open down the left sideline, and the sophomore raced into the end zone, giving the Warriors a 45-14 lead. Sophomore Jeremy Kimbrell added the point after attempt and the Warriors increased their margin to 46-14 with 8:14 left in the game.
The Mohawks tacked on two late touchdowns against mostly the Warriors second team defense, setting the final score at 46-28.
The Warriors had a balanced offensive attack, passing for 227 yards and
rushing for another 181. Micheal Jackson led the Warriors with 84 yards on nine carries and a touchdown, while Madden carried four times for 71 yards and a score.
Piggott rolled up 377 yards on the ground as running back Dillan Cate rushed for 118 yards on 21 carries, including a 42-yard run for a score while Ballard also went over the century mark with 106 yards.
"I felt like we played better offensively than we have all year long," said EPC head coach Mark Courtney. "We eliminated the turnovers and really cut down on our penalties. We got in good sync and had a real good flow, and to run our type of offense that's what you need to do to be successful.
"Brett Hardin continues to get better every week. He made some good
decisions and just played real well. I also thought our defense played a good game. We gave up some yards late, but we were trying to look at some different things and we were doing a lot of substituting, so the stats were a little misleading. Overall, I was very pleased.
"We are going to face a very tough team next week in Charleston. They have a three-year starter at quarterback, who has only had three losses in three years. Their only loss this year has been to Lavaca, which is undefeated.
With the win the Warriors improved to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in league play. EPC holds a half game lead over both Marked Tree and Cross County, which both have 3-1 conference marks, while Earle also is in the mix with a 2-1 league mark. Piggott dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-4 in league play.
The Warriors will return to action Friday night as they travel across the state to face Charleston. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.