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It was all Northeast on the gridiron Thursday night in Decatur as the Tigers took out their vengeance on the Warriors 34-6 in the program’s 500th game.
Last year the Warriors pulled off a miracle by cashing in on two ‘hail mary’ passes--one at the end of the first half and another at the end of regulation-- and won the game in overtime 35-28.
However, this year the Tigers quickly removed that defeat from their memory bank and claimed redemption by easily defeating East Central 34-6 at Warrior Stadium.
Leading the way on the offensive side of the ball for Northeast (1-0) was sophomore QB Clint Wilson (Olive Branch). Wilson looked calm, cool, and collected while running the spread offense, throwing for 271 yards and four touchdowns against East Central (0-1).
“Wilson looked great running the offense for us tonight,” said Head Coach Ricky Smither. “It always helps when you got time to throw the ball and our offensive line did a fantastic job giving Clint time to execute.”
Execution was not a problem for the Tigers’ offensive unit. Sophomore transfer WR Josh Jarboe (Atlanta, Ga.) quickly made his presence known mid-way through the first quarter, catching a 12-yard TD pass from Wilson and putting the Tigers up 7-0 after the PAT from Taylor Earhart (Olive Branch).
Four minutes later, Jarboe did it again, this time catching a 14-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to push the Tigers’ lead to 14-0.
East Central was able to get on the scoreboard on a 24-yard TD pass from starting QB Blake Matherne (Boothville, La.) to wide-out Walter Grayson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in the right corner of the end zone. Warrior kicker Jason Loris (Moss Point) missed the extra point making the score 14-6 with 12:45 left in the first half.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half, but Northeast finally found its rhythm at the 10:30 mark when Wilson connected with freshman WR Jonathan Johnson (West Helenda, Ark.) for a 15-yard touchdown. Earhart nailed the extra point pushing the Tigers’ lead to 21-6.
Northeast scored again with 54 seconds left in the third frame when Wilson hooked up with freshman receiver Dante Barksdale (Southaven) on a 37-yard touchdown toss that increased the Tigers’ lead to 28-6. The drive consisted of five plays, covered 58 yards and took only forty-eight seconds off the clock.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers put the ‘nail on the coffin’ with freshman RB Jamarcus Goodloe (Leighton, Ala.) pounding the pigskin across the goal line from 10 yards out, making the final score 34-6. Earhart’s PAT attempt failed.
On the defensive of side of the ball, the Tigers were relentless. Defensive Coordinator Jeff Carter’s unit held the Warriors to 196 total yards of offense and forced four fumbles on the night.
Leading the way up front for Northeast were sophomores McAurther Leatherwood (Ripley), KyVari Bolden (Hoover, Ala.) and Anthony Payne (Leroy, Ala.). The big three combined for 20 tackles. At the linebacker spot, freshman Marvell Taylor (Charleston) and sophomore Trey Pegues (Oxford) teamed up for 18 stops and got help from another frosh Anthony Brown (Cairo, Ga.) who had six tackles to his credit. The secondary was fearless and showed its group speed, shutting down the Warrior passing game by holding East Central to just 100 passing yards on the night.
With the victory, Smither picked up the first road victory of his three-year career as the commander-in-chief for Northeast. Smither and company will travel to Summit to face the Southwest Community College Bears (1-0) Thursday, September 9.
“It was a great feeling getting over that hump and winning on the road,” Smither said.
“I give all the credit to my coaching staff and my players, these guys have worked really hard and they deserve this. Now we got to move on and prepare for next week’s match-up with Southwest and that is what we will do starting on Sunday.”
Listen to all the action beginning at 6:30 p.m. by logging onto http://www.teamline.cc/teampage?teamcode=1452, then click on football. Approximately at 8 p.m. the game will be joined live in progress on the 96.3 FM “The Ticket” immediately following The Dan Mullen Show.
For more information on how to tune into Northeast football in 2010, you can contact Joseph Miller at 662-720-7300 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.