Warriors top Indians to reach 10-0 mark
The EPC Warriors (10-0, 7-0 2A-3) capped off a perfect regular season with a 46-6 win over conference and county rival Marked Tree (6-4, 4-3 2A-3) this last Thursday in Lepanto. The Warriors will host Mineral Springs in the first round of the state football playoffs as Marked Tree will travel to Carlisle.
EPC got the ball first and were in good field position on their own 40-yard line. Trevor McDaniel coughed up the football and Blake Daniels recovered for the Indians at the Warriors 47-yard line less than a minute into the game. Marked Tree drove down to the EPC 12-yard line where they faced third and two yards for a first down. Aaron Scales came up big with a tackle for an eight yard loss making it fourth and ten. The Indians went for the first down but Brody McCrary's pass fell incomplete giving the ball to the Warriors on their own 20-yard line with 7:11 left. Trevor McDaniel picked up 21 yards on first down moving the ball out to the 41-yard line. Dylan Hunt sacked Aaron Scales for an eight yard loss before Aaron Scales hit McKenzie Betts for a 37-yard gain down to the Indians 30-yard line. Aaron Scales finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 1:14 left in the opening quarter to make it 6-0. The two-point conversion was good to make it 8-0 and that was the score after the first quarter of play.
The Warriors started the second quarter with the ball on their own 30-yard line. EPC drove down the field and scored when Aaron Scales hit his brother Byron with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 8:00 left before half time. Byron Scales added the two-point conversion run to make it 16-0 EPC. Marked Tree couldn't much offense generated and were forced to punt with 6:46 left. The Indians returned the favor and forced the Warriors to punt on their next series. The snap sailed over Aaron Scales' head. Scales got the ball and found Seth Lacy open who took the ball down to the Marked Tree 33-yard line with 3:09 left in the quarter. A face mask penalty followed by a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the Warriors down to the Indians 12-yard line with 2:47 left. Tristan McDaniel scored from two yards out to finish the EPC drive and make it 22-0 with 2:32 left in the half. Aaron Scales passed to Corbin Truelove for the two-point conversion to give EPC a 24-0 lead. Marked Tree drove into EPC territory before the quarter came to a close.
Marked Tree got the ball to start the second half and faced fourth and three. The Indians decided to go for the first down only to see a bad pitch hit the ground and recovered by Zach Maddox of EPC at the Indians 37-yard line with 9:44 left in the third quarter. The Warriors took advantage of the turnover as they drove down the field and scored on Trevor McDaniel's 11-yard run. Byron Scales ran the two-point conversion in to make it 32-0 with 7:43 left. Marked Tree took their next possession and put their first points on the board. McCrary hit Daniel Rucker with a deep pass down to the EPC three-yard line before Jaleel Lott bulled his way in from three yards out for the score. McCrary's two-point pass to Hunt was stopped on the one-yard line to make the score 32-6 Warriors. Kyle Harbin recovered the Marked Tree onside kick attempt at the EPC 47-yard line. EPC drove down into Marked Tree territory before Bailey Gilbert intercepted a tipped pass for Marked Tree and returned it out of the end zone to the Indians 20-yard line with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
Marked Tree started the final quarter facing a second and one on their own 29-yard line. EPC's Clay Malone stepped in front of a McCrary pass and returned to the Indians 28-yard line to set the Warriors up for their next series. The Warriors again capitalized on the turn over as Trevor McDaniel scored on a 14 yard run with 9:10 left. Aaron Scales ran the two-point conversion in to make it 40-6 Warriors. Marked Tree got a big run from Kedrick Tyler down to the EPC 15-yard line on their next possession. The Indians faced fourth down on the 14-yard line and were stopped to give the ball back over to the Warriors with 5:41 left. The Warriors took two plays to score the final points of the game as Trevor McDaniel scampered 34 yards out to the 48-yard line before brother Tristan went 52 yards for a touchdown with 5:21 left. The two-point pass play was no good setting the final score at 46-6.
"Our kids played hard tonight but they (EPC) were just better than us tonight," Marked Tree coach Waylon Dunn said after the game. "We'll go get ready for playoffs now," Dunn added.
Tyler led the Indians in rushing with 61 yards as Lott finished with 21 yards rushing and a touchdown. McCrary passed for 103 yards and threw an interception.
"Outstanding!" was the first word from EPC coach Brian Weathers about his team after the game. "Way to cap off a season with a win in this big rivalry game. The kids played hard on both sides of the ball and we had a renewed energy with everyone back and completely healthy," Weathers added.
Trevor McDaniel led the Warriors with 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Tristan McDaniel added 74 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Aaron Scales rushed for 61 yards and a score as he passed for 99 yards a touchdown. Byron Scales had a touchdown catch and led the defense with 14 tackles.