HURLEY – The East Central offensive line paved the way for another big game for junior running back Tony Brown Friday night.
Brown, the nation's leading rusher, gashed Pass Christian for 27 carries for 300 and four touchdowns as East Central pulled away in the second half for a 49-16 victory.
Brown, who has at least 200 yards rushing in every game but one, picked up his third game of 300 yards or more.
“Once again, I've just got to follow my O-line,” Brown said. “I've got to make the right decisions and I've got to use that breakaway speed.”
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East Central (5-3, 2-0) has one of the biggest offensive lines on the Coast and the group is led by senior left tackle Conner Estes, a 6-foot-5, 302-pounder who is committed to Louisiana Tech.
Brown had touchdown runs of 59, 1, 4 and 49 yards to help end the Pirates' three-game winning streak. He easily cleared the 2,000-yard mark for the season Friday night after entering the game 77 yards shy of the mark.
“(Brown) has got a lot of God given ability. He runs hard and he's blessed with a great offensive line,” East Central coach Seth Smith said. “I'm proud of him, but there's so much we can do to get better. We're leaving some things on the field that we can work at and get better at. We can get a lot better and he can get better too.”
East Central now looks ahead to next week's big game at St. Stanislaus, which is the favorite to reach a third consecutive Class 4A state title game.
Brown admits that he and his teammates have been thinking about the St. Stanislaus game since losing 49-35 to the Rockachaws in Hurley last season.
“Especially after how they did us last year, beating us on senior night,” Brown said. “It's time to get them back. I believe we can do it.”
Pass Christian (4-3, 1-1) grabbed some early momentum when Aaron Whavers returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, giving the Pirates a 6-0 lead at the 11:43 mark of the third quarter.
Pass Christian only managed one touchdown on offense, a 42-yard touchdown run by V.J. Swanier just before halftime.
East Central led 28-16 at the half.
“It got away from us,” Pass Christian coach Casey Wittman said. “We have eight guys going both ways and they just wore us down in the second half. We knew going in we had to get ahead of them.”
East Central rolled off 21 unanswered points in the second half.
The East Central defense put together one of its best performances of the season and also helped add to the Hornets' point total when Cade Miles recovered a Pass Christian fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to give East Central a 21-9 lead with 5:50 left in the first half.
“I thought they played great,” Smith said of his defense. “Anytime you play or live life with a purpose or a passion you can be successful. The past two weeks their energy has been contagious. It's been a great team effort.”
The Hornets had two other scoring plays on offense: Rylee Brown threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Brad Cumbest midway through the first quarter and Louis Morgan ran 4 yards for a touchdown at the 8:57 mark of the third quarter.