EPC, ranked 2nd in Class 2A and the Salem Greyhounds, ranked 4th in Class 2A, both undefeated, met for the 2A-3 conference championship this past Friday night in Lepanto. The night belonged to the 'Hounds as they posted a 30-6 win over the Warriors.
(DT Photo/Anthony Cossey)
EPC started the second quarter with the ball on their own 44-yard line facing a third and three. Aaron Scales converts the fourth and one play giving EPC the ball on their own 48-yard line with 11:02 left in the quarter. EPC's decides to for for it on fourth and eight where Aaron Scales is flushed from the pocket and comes up short of the first down giving the ball back to Salem with 10:17 to go on their own 44-yard line. Salem hits a pass on first down and hands to the face personal foul is added to the playing giving the Greyhounds first and goal on the Warriors nine-yard line with 8:17 left in the half. Tristan McDaniel denies the Greyhounds with a big stop on fourth down at EPC 4-yard line where the Warriors take over on downs with 6:31 left to play. Byron Scales moves the ball out to the 18-yard line with back to back runs for EPC. Aaron Scales runs the ball out to the 32-yard line where a face mask penalty moves the ball out the EPC 47-yard line with 4:43 left in the quarter. A Salem defender intercepts Aaron Scales' pass and returns it out to the Salem 43-yard line with 3:35 left before half. The Greyhounds drive down into EPC territory where an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed by another hands to the face penalty gave Salem and first and goal at the EPC nine-yard line with 1:08 left before halftime. Salem's quarterback kept the ball for a nine-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left. The two-point conversion was good making the score 16-6 Greyhounds. Trevor McDaniel returned the kickoff out to the 43-yard line. Mookie Sturdivant fumbled the ball with Salem recovering with 14 seconds left in the half. Salem ran the clock out and took a 16-6 lead to the locker rooms.
Salem came out the second half and tried to onside the kick the ball but EPC's Caleb Harston falls on the ball giving the Warriors first and ten at their own 44-yard line. Salem is flagged for a face mask penalty on first down that moved the ball over to the Salem 41-yard line. EPC moved the ball down to the 36-yard line before Salem dropped Trevor McDaniel for a two-yard loss on fourth and fourth and two giving the ball to Salem on their own 38-yard line with 9:41 left in the third quarter. The Greyhounds put together a nice drive of passing and running the ball as they drove down and scored on a three-yard run to stretch the lead to 22-6 with 5:57 left in the quarter. Salem again tried the onside kick with the ball going out of bounds on their own 43-yard line giving EPC good field position to start their drive. Back to back plays with negative gains forced EPC into a third and sixteen at their own 49-yard line. Aaron Scales third down pass fell incomplete and the Warriors were forced to punt the ball away. Salem took over at their own 14-yard line with 4:15 left in the third. Paul Pilgrim sacked the Salem quarterback on third down forcing the Greyhounds into a fourth and long. Salem lined up as if to go for it but the quarterback punted out of the shotgun formation giving EPC the ball back with 1:05 left in the third at their own 46-yard line. A bad pitch on the option to Harston puts the ball on the ground where the Greyhounds recover with 35 seconds left in the third. Salem hits a pass play down to the Warriors 22-yard line before the third quarter comes to an end with Salem leading 22-6.
Salem wasted little time as they scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 17 yard run. The two-point pass play was good making the score 30-6 Salem with 11:53 left. The Warriors get a big kickoff return from Tristan McDaniel as he took the ball down to the Salem 18-yard line with 11:39 to go in the game. Aaron Scales is forced from the pocket on fourth and five and runs down to the five-yard line where the Warriors have it first and goal with 9:57 left to play. Aaron Scales is dropped for a five-yard loss on first down before having is pass intercepted by Salem and returned out to the 17-yard line with 8:48 left in the quarter. Salem connects on a half back pass and moves the ball down to the EPC 39-yard line with 8:30 left in the fourth. EPC stopped Salem on fourth and five taking over on downs with 5:21 left. EPC drove down deep in Salem territory only to see Aaron Scales' pass intercepted in the end zone with 1:25 left to play. Salem gave the ball right back to EPC as they fumbled on their own 24-yard line with 1:18 left in the game. EPC couldn't capitalize as the game ended with Salem winning 30-6.
"We knew coming out we would have our hands full," EPC coach Brian Weathers said after the game. "We got out played and out coached in basically every area of the game," Weathers added.
Aaron Scales finished the night hitting 10 of 19 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 87 yards on the night.
Byron Scales was in on 23 tackles on the night on defense.
EPC falls to 8-1 and will travel to rival Marked Tree to finish up regular season play.