Warriors lose in final seconds
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Nov. 11, 2001
MOORHEAD – Jay Jones drilled a 35-yard field goal as time expired to deliver Mississippi Delta Community College a 10-7 victory over East Central Community College Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the MACJC state playoffs at Jim Randall Stadium.
ECCC ran 76 plays to just 52 for Delta, but like in the season opener, the Trojans scored late for the win. The Warriors held an 18-6 advantage in first downs.
ECCC owned the stats, racking up 249 total yards to 118 for Delta. The Trojans didn't go over the 100-yard mark until their final possession which was set up by a fumble recovery by Anthony Harris of an option pitch by Brian Zbydniewski at the Warrior 43 with 67 seconds remaining.
The Trojans covered 25 yards on five plays to set the stage for Jones' game-winning field goal as time ran out. The big gain on the drive was an 18-yard pass from Berkedius Womack to Tavares Gideon to the ECCC 22 with 56.7 seconds left.
ECCC sophomore running back Patrick Prince single-handedly outgained the Trojans in his final game as a Warrior as he ran for 147 yards on 37 carries.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, although the Warriors began what turned out to be a 15-play, 45-yard drive that got as deep as the Delta 23 before Zbydniewski was sacked back to the 38 on third down.
The Warriors dodged a bullet after quarterback Jarvis Lymon lost a fumble at his 34 as the ECCC defense held the Trojans to only four yards. Jones came on to try a 47-yard field goal which Cedric Cotton blocked.
The Trojans were back in business at the ECCC 36 three plays later after a stray option pitch by Zbydniewski. This time the Trojans got on the scoreboard even though the Warriors yielded ground grudgingly. Womack and Gideon connected on a two-yard touchdown toss to complete the 36-yard drive in 12 plays. Jones' extra point gave Delta a 7-0 lead with 2:14 remaining in the second quarter.
The Warriors suffered three lost fumbles and an interception on the afternoon.
In the first half, ECCC had 33 offensive plays for 76 yards, while Delta ran 30 plays for just 59 yards in the defensive battle.
On their second possession of the second half, the Warriors marched from their 42 to the Trojan 17 only to come up empty. A 21-yard run by Cotton on a fake punt on fourth-and-2 at the 50 was the drive's big play and was the game's biggest gain up to that point.
The drive stalled at the 17 after two incompletions and Danny Haynes' 35-yard field goal attempt went wide left with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter.
The Warriors reached the Delta 35 on their next possession, but Lymon's second down pass was intercepted by Kendrick Woodard at the Trojan 11.
The Warriors held the Trojans to start the fourth quarter and Prince led the Warriors to the tying touchdown as he carried the ball on nine of 10 plays, racking up 66 of the drive's 67 yards. Prince broke free around left end for 43 yards to the Delta 24 to start the scoring drive. He capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge with 8:55 remaining. Haynes' extra point tied the defensive battle at 7-7.
The Warrior defense held again, but Jason Hunter pinned the Warriors at their 4 with a 54-yard punt. Hunter averaged 46.3 yards on eight punts.
The Warriors moved to the Delta 41 on 13 plays only to have Zbydniewski get separated from the ball on an option toss with 1:07 left to set up Jones' game-winning kick.
ECCC's Dontay Spillman had five receptions for 46 yards. Womack led Delta's offense with 31 yards on 16 carries.
ECCC finished 6-4, while Delta will take a 9-1 record into next Saturday's Magnolia Bowl with Jones at Moorhead. Jones, 9-1, defeated Northwest Mississippi 24-10 in Saturday's other semifinal.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.