EPC routs Norphlet in state playoff opener
Behind a strong defensive effort, the EPC Warriors downed the Norphlet Leopards 52-14 in the opening round of the Class 2A high school state football playoffs last Friday in Lepanto. EPC's defense forced six turnovers and scored off each turnover.
Tristan McDaniel intercepted a Norphlet pass to set up the first score for EPC. Aaron Scales hit his brother Byron with a 17-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring with 9:48 left in the quarter. Blake Carter's extra-point was no good leaving the score 6-0. On the Leopard's second possession, Malik Monk intercepted a Leopard pass and returned it 80 yards for the touchdown with 4:40 left in the opening quarter. Aaron Scales two-point run made the score 14-0 Warriors. Aaron Scales stepped in front of a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown with 17 seconds left in the first. The extra-point made it 21-0 EPC.
Byron Scales fell on Norphlet fumble with seven seconds left in the half to set up a field goal which Carter drilled from 33 yards out to give EPC a 24-0 halftime lead.
Caleb Harston scored from a yard out with 9:04 left in the third quarter. Carter's point after made it 31-0. Norphlet got to board with 7:13 left in the quarter to make the score 31-6. Harston scored again for EPC from 13 yards with 1:49 left in the quarter. The extra-point pushed the lead to 38-6.
Harston scored his third rushing touchdown with 9:46 left to play. The extra-point made the score 45-7 EPC. Trevor McDaniel scored the Warriors final touchdown on a 40-yard run with 6:21 left in the game. The point after was good extending the Warriors lead to 52-8. Norphlet scored on a 10-yard pass with 1:36 left in the quarter. The two-point play was good making the score 52-14.
EPC rolled up 367 total yards of offense with 265 coming on the ground. Harston led the offense with 114 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. Trevor McDaniel added 109 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Aaron Scales connected on seven of his eleven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Tristan McDaniel had two catches for 64 yards and Byron Scales had a touchdown catch.
Trent Barnes led the defense with 12 tackles, two of those being sacks, Byron Scales had 11 tackles and Tristan McDaniel had nine including a sack. Monk, making his first defensive start, had five tackles to go with his interception return for a touchdown. Monk also recovered a fumble a returned it 78 yards for a score only to see in brought back due to a penalty.
EPC (10-1) hosts Carlisle Friday night in the second round of the Class 2A high school state football playoffs. This will be the third year in a row the two teams have met. "Hopefully the old saying proves correct, the third time is a charm," EPC coach Brian Weathers said.