East Central Hornets blank Marshall in home opener
Hornet quarterback Christian Jones looks downfield during East Central’s 50-0 thrashing of the Marshall Rams last Friday night.
East Central 50
EAST CENTRAL -- It was a big night for the Hornet football team at East Central last Friday evening. There was a brand new turf in the stadium, it was the season home opener, and there was a large crowd on hand to cheer on the home team. The Hornets have high expectations this season, and the Black and Gold didn’t disappoint, playing well on both sides of the ball as the team dismantled the Marshall Rams and sent them home with a lopsided 50-0 loss.
The Hornets scored early and often, running the scoreboard up to 29-0 before the end of the first quarter alone.
The first touchdown of the night came less than three minutes into the game as Javion Polk found an opening in the Ram defense and sprinted 12 yards for the score. The point-after attempt was no good, but the home crowd was happy to celebrate a 6-0 advantage.
After a big defensive stand, the Hornet offense went back to work and capped off its second scoring drive of the night with a 29-yard passing strike from quarterback Jeremy Jones to Dustin Toscano. Senior running back Chris Armstrong carried in the 2-point conversion, and the lead was 14-0 with 5:31 remaining on the first-quarter clock.
The Rams made a little progress on their next possession, and were nearing midfield, but the Hornet defense came up big as senior linebacker Cody Schautteet picked up a Marshall fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Another 2-point play made the score 22-0, and the home crowd went wild.
Three touchdowns in the first quarter is great, but four is even better, and that’s what the Hornet offense delivered with two and a half minutes still remaining in the first. Junior tailback Johnathan Jackson got the nod from 11 yards out, and scored to put East Central on top by 28. Wanya Ward kicked the extra point, and the scoreboard read 29-0 after less than 10 minutes of football.
The Hornets slowed the pace considerably after the first quarter, but remained in control of the game throughout. Armstrong scored his first touchdown of the night on a 25-yard run midway through the second quarter, and East Central took a 35-0 lead into the locker room.
The Hornet defense delivered the first points of the second half as it forced a Marshall safety. With just seconds to play in the third, Polk scored his second touchdown of the night on a 7-yard run, and the Hornet lead was 43-0.
The final touchdown of the night came from the East Central defense, as senior Matt Coleman picked off a Marshall passing attempt and returned it 45 yards for a Hornet touchdown. Ward added the extra point, and the final score stood at 50-0.
The Hornet defense played a great game, delivering a convincing shutout, and holding the Rams to just over 200 yards on the night. Marshall gained just 158 yards on 38 rushing attempts, and added only 63 yards through the air after completing just 10 of 26 passing attempts. East Central came up with four interceptions and recovered two Marshall fumbles.
On the other side of the ball, the Hornets ran just as many times (39), yet gained 301 rushing yards. Jackson ran nine times for 89 yards, Armstrong had 10 carries for 82 yards, and Polk had eight touches for 73 yards. Jacory Armstrong ran three times for 39 yards, Toscano had five carries for 10 yards, and Vernest Dotson and Taylor Collier combined for 13 more. Jeremy Jones completed four passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and brother Christian Jones completed a pass for 14 yards. Dotson was the leading receiver with 54 yards on two grabs, while Toscano had 29 yards and the touchdown on his one catch. Orlando Acevedo had a catch for 11 yards and Jonathan Pena had one catch for 8 yards.
With the win, the Hornets improve to 2-0 on the year. East Central will be at home again this week, as the team plays host to Brennan High School. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Hornet Stadium.