• 57°

Co-Lin wins wild homecoming

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.”

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.