Co-Lin wins wild homecoming

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 7, 2002

WESSON – In one of the wildest homecoming games in Co-Linhistory, the Wolves rallied for three, fourth-quarter touchdownsand posted a 34-31 Saturday afternoon triumph over the East CentralCommunity College Warriors. Co-Lin faced a 10-point, 31-21 deficitin sweat-soaked Stone Stadium with just 4:17 left in the game.

When wide receiver Corey Payne made a diving catch of a 4-yardtouchdown pass from quarterback Bruce Petty, the Wolves hadregained the lead with 1:08 left to play. An interception of aKevin Stephens pass by Co-Lin’s Darius Cox sealed the victory with18 seconds left on the scoreboard clock, igniting a majorcelebration on the Co-Lin sideline.

Co-Lin head coach David Poinsett praised his squad which ended a3-game losing streak. “There’s one word that best describes thisteam. Perseverance. Our guys know you have to keep playing hard thewhole game. They were determined to get the job done.”

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The Wolves (2-3, 1-2), getting their first South Division win ofthe season, had howled to an early 14-0 lead, sparked by JonathanWalker’s 94-yard kickoff return on the game’s first play. They madeit 14-0 when Petty hooked up with tight end Fred Perkins for an11-yard TD connection and Jimbo Thornton kicked the extrapoint.

Momentum began swinging in East Central’s direction. Stephensthrew a strike to running back Titus Ryan for a 31 yard TD.Traveres Osley kicked the extra point and the Warriors trailed14-7.

A 45-yard field goal by Ken Triplett reduced EC’s deficit to14-10 at halftime. The Warriors claimed the lead on a 45-yard passcompletion from Stephens to Ronald Smith and 8:30 left in the thirdquarter.

The Warriors capitalized on a Shermaine Vaughn fumble at EC’s30-yard line. Three plays later, wide receiver Marcus Hibbler raced30 yards on a reverse, pushing the Warriors ahead 24-14.

Co-Lin halted the scoring surge when Vaughn scored on a diveplay, cutting the deficit to 24-21. A fumble return by Co-Lindefensive lineman Anthony Dampier set up the TD.

The Warriors responded with a back-breaking 73-yard sprint byRyan up the middle for a TD, making it 31-21 with 4:17 left in thegame.

That’s when the Wolves decided to win their homecoming game.Petty connected with Billy Williams on a 64-yard TD pass.Thornton’s PAT reduced the deficit to 31-28.

Thornton launched a sky kick on the kickoff and sophomorelinebacker Don Expose recovered for Co-Lin at the East Central 20.Five players later, Payne made his diving TD catch in the end zone.Payne had 7 catches for 80 yards and 2 TDs

“We fought through it,” said Expose. “Coach put us in the rightplace and we made the plays. It was a much-needed win to stay inthe hunt for the (state) playoffs.”

Petty found his targets in the second half and completed 12 of25 passes for 209 yards and 3 TDs. He said he was confident Co-Lincould overcome the 10-point deficit.

“I told my defense, “Don’t give up on me,'” said Petty. “I knewif we get the ball back we could score. This is a turnaround gamefor us. Our offense will try to step it up and get better eachweek.”

Vaughn, Co-Lin’s leading rusher with 19 carries for 67 yards,suffered a hip-pointer on the winning TD drive. He was forced tothe sidelines after gaining a first down at EC’s 7-yard line.

The Warriors (1-4, 1-2), coached by Terry Underwood, were freshfrom a 28-21 overtime win at Gulf Coat. They got 158 yard rushingfrom Ryan, a freshman from Tuscaloosa, Ala. Ryan carried 14times.