The No. 19 ranked East Central Warriors hung tough with No. 1 Gulf Coast for the first 30 minutes of the matchup of MACJC South Division leaders last Thursday before the Bulldogs used a pair of second half scores to pull away for the 25-5 win.

It was Sophomore Night at East Central as 19 Warrior sophomores were honored prior to the game, including defensive lineman Alvin Dempsey of Port St. Joe (see related story).

Two of the nation’s best defensive units were on the Warrior Field turf, as East Central came into the contest ranked No. 9 in scoring defense at 13.7 points per game and No. 17 in yards per game.

Gulf Coast was giving up just 13.3 points and 172 yards per game to rank No. 8 and No. 2, respectfully.

After falling behind 12-0, ECCC and Dempsey applied the pressure.

East Central would get in the scoring column midway through the second quarter with a safety. ECCC punter Robens Beauplan pinned the Bulldogs back on the 5.

Lovertich was called for intentional grounding in the end zone on the ensuring play as Dempsey and freshman nose guard Joshua Ratcliff were smothering the Gulf Coast quarterback on the play.

As the second quarter was winding down, freshman defensive end John Cartwright (Madison-Ridgeland Academy) tipped a Lovertich pass at the line of scrimmage and Dempsey came down with the interception to set the Warriors up on the Gulf Coast 34-yard line.

Beauplan would later kick a 36-yard field goal with 53 seconds to play to make the score 12-5 at the half.

The 12 points by Gulf Coast were the fewest it has scored in a first half all season, and the 25 points were the second fewest the Bulldogs have scored in a game this year.

East Central will face its fourth straight ranked opponent when the No. 6 ranked Hinds Eagles visit Decatur today for Homecoming.

All East Central home and away football games can be heard on WKOZ “Cruisin” 98.3 radio or at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media. Live stream video of all home games as well as links to the live stream of road opponents can be found at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.