High School Sports

East Central's defense stands tall against Pirates

PASS CHRISTIAN - The East Central defense stopped Pass Christian quarterback V.J. Swanier at the 3 on fourth down to preserve a 12-7 comeback victory at McDonald Stadium on Friday night.

The Hornets (5-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 8-4A) took the lead for the first time with 7:27 left in the game when A.J. Davis galloped 11 yards for a touchdown in the south end zone.

Swanier, who had scored the Pirates' touchdown in the first quarter, drove Pass Christian from the Hornet 45 to the Hornet 8 with 3:17 left in regulation. On fourth and goal from the 8, Swanier rolled right and cut up the field but was stopped at the 3. East Central took over the ball and ran out the clock.

Pass Christian (4-3, 1-1) had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Davis, who was held to 85 rushing yards by halftime, finished with 231 yards on 34 carries. The 5-foot-10, 179-pound senior entered the game with 1,315 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

Swanier finished with 115 rushing yards on 18 carries.

"We felt like Swanier would probably carry the ball,'' East Central coach Seth Smith said. "He is a gladiator. He played both ways and played his guts out. Our defense has been the heart of team all year.

"I have to give credit to those guys (Pass Christian). We were fortunate to win this football game. "I'm proud of our guys' resiliency. We had several turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) and we had more penalties than we've had all year.''

Pass drove 55 yards in seven plays on its first possession of the night to take a 7-0 lead. East Central answered on its fourth possession with a 90-yard, 13-play drive capped by quarterback Glen Evans one-yard TD sneak with 6:26 left in the second quarter. But Pass blocked the extra point for a 7-6 advantage.

Pass stopped three deep drives with turnovers but finally East Central marched 67 yards in 11 plays in the fourth quarter. The key play on the drive came when Evans completed a 14-yard pass on fourth-and 8 to Chase Cooley from the Pirates 29 to the Pirates 15. Two plays later, Davis scored the

game-winner.

"We battled. We had a chance at the end to win it,'' Pass coach Casey Wittmann said. "He (Swanier) is the guy we count on in situations like that. We took a shot with Jermaine (Dedeaux) but it (the pass) didn't happen.

"We try to put our players in position and they got us down there but we came up three yards short. The effort was unbelievable. We just have to get the next one (Moss Point).''

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