By Tony Tsoukalas / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
After back-to-back spirited wins against Southwest Mississippi and Hinds, East Central Community College will head on the road today to take on Jones County at 3 p.m.
Things don't get any easier for the Warriors this week, as Jones County has already taken down previously-rated No.1 Gulf Coast Community College this season. In order to compete for a third-straight win, East Central will have to stick to what has been its bread and butter this season – fundamentals.
“If we play like we have been playing and practice like we have been, we should be alright,” East Central linebacker Cory Houck said. “They way we have been preparing and playing, it really doesn't matter if we are at home or away.”
“We are just going to play hard-nosed football, and stick to our fundamentals. If we get our fundamentals down, we should be good.”
The Bobcats certainly wont do East Central any favors, as Jones County offers a big, well-disciplined team.
“Jones is a good football team,” East Central head coach Brian Anderson said. “They do things how they are supposed to be done, when they are supposed to do it. You have to line up and beat them, they are not going to beat themselves.”
The Bobcats bring one of the best linebacking units the Warriors have seen all season. Although the Warriors have not backed down from a challenge all season, this week East Central might be without its biggest offensive weapon, running back Keshun Shipp.
Shipp was injured during the Warriors game against Hinds, and Anderson said he was not sure what the running back's status will be at the time of today's game.
The Warriors are already dealing with a season-ending injury to quarterback Colton Kane, and losing Shipp would be a huge blow. If the talented back is unable to go, Houck and the rest of the defense know it will be key for them to pick up the slack on the other side of the ball.
“We are going to have to cause some turnovers,” Houck said. “We have to make some big plays and get things going for our offense.”
Houck certainly came up big last week, as he led the Warriors with 14 tackles, keeping Hinds at bay as East Central completed the comeback.
“Being a middle linebacker, I kind of had to step up last game,” Houck said. “We have a bunch of leaders on defense, and it is just a team effort. We are all capable of doing what we need to do.”
A win today would not only make three-straight wins for the Warriors, it would also mark the most wins for East Central since Anderson took hold of the team. Players know that success is not only important for this season, but also the future of the program as well.
“It is really important to get that win,” Houck said. “We are trying to get something done at East Central that has never been done. We want to produce winning seasons regularly for years to come.”
East Central doesn't appear to be favored as they head into today's game. However, that is a feeling the Warriors have grown comfortable with as the season has progressed. Houck and the rest of the Warriors wouldn't have it any other way.
“It gives us motivation to prove to everybody, we are in college football for a reason,” Houck said. “The team, coach, everybody knows how we can be, and we just want to let everyone know we are a talented team and we can do some big things.”