• 66°

Southwest defeats East Central

SUMMIT – The Southwest Bears shook off a slow start Saturday night and exploded for 28 second-half points to cap off a successful Homecoming with a 38-14 win over the Warriors of East Central.

With the win, the Bears moved to 3-4 on the season and 2-3 in the MACJC South Division. East Central fell to 3-5 and 1-4.

he Bears drew first blood and scored the only points of the opening quarter when Chris Jones closed out a short four-play, 17-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 12:36 on the clock. Reed James kicked the extra point to make the score 7-0. The drive was set up by a 60-yard punt return by Ladarrius Slocum.

East Central got on the board, and tied the game at 7-7, on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Trey Willis to Kabion Ento and Brennan O’Keefe’s PAT with 13:46 left in the half.

A Josh Samander fumble recovery helped the Bears’ take a 10-7 lead with 9:11 left in the half. Taking over the ball at the visitors’ 25-yard line, the Bears could only gain two yard on three plays before James entered the game and nailed a 40-yard field goal.

After taking possession of the ball at their own 19-yard line following the kickoff, the Warriors needed only six plays to score and take their only lead of the night. Lamarcus Franks closed out the drive, which was aided by a 50-yard run on a Chandler Powell fake punt, with a nine-yard run with 6:18 left in the half. O’Keefe’s PAT put the Warriors up 14-10 at the break.

The Bears regained the lead for good with the only points of the third quarter when De’ Angelo Ballard found Slocum on the end of a 43-yard pass with 1:00 on the clock. James hit the extra point to make the score 17-14.

The Bears put the game away in the fourth quarter with three touchdowns in less than four minutes. The first, with 6:12 on the clock, came on a 73-yard run by Ballard. Ballard then connected with Kameron Williams on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 3:07 left in the game and the final score came with 2:48 remaining when Samander recovered his second fumble of the night and rumbled 26 yards into the end zone. James hit the extra point following each score to give the Bears their final margin of victory.

The Bears struggled on offense during the first half and part of the second before coming alive and finished the night with 304 total yards. What turned things around, according to head coach Tucker Peavey was “I think we blocked folks. We were still ineffective throwing the ball (and) we didn’t play as well, I don’t think, up front as we have been. But, you have to give East Central credit; they’re a good football team that’s gotten better each week.”

The Bears picked up 171 yards on the ground, led by Ballard’s 112 yards on 17 carries. He had one touchdown. Jones carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards and a score.

Ballard was good on eight of 18 passes in the game for 133 yards with two touchdowns. Slocum caught four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown while Williams had two catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.

The Bears picked up eight first downs in the game and were penalized four times for 45 yards. Brandon Mancuso punted nine times for 37.6 yards.

The Warriors totaled 359 yards of total offense. Franks led the way with 152 yards, and a touchdown, on 38 carries.

Willis made good on 16 of 24 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown. Ento had four receptions for 65 yards and the touchdown.

East Central registered 17 first downs in the game, 13 via the rush. They were whistled for only two penalties for 25 yards. Powell punted nine times for 34.2 yards.

The Bears close out the 2014 campaign Thursday night when they travel to Raymond to face the Hinds Eagles. Hinds dropped a 52-45 decision at Jones County Saturday night.