ECCC Takes HOT Bowl JUCO Title
Updated: December 5, 2015
BY – Robert Kelly – Examiner.com
Capitalizing on two fumbles, East Central Community College tallied 466 yards of total offense to down the Kilgore Rangers by the score of 35-21 to win the junior college game of the The Hoffpauir Auto Group C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl at Bulldawg Stadium in Copperas Cove, Texas on Saturday, December 5, 2015. With the win, the Warriors raised their season record 8-3 in their first bowl appearance in 19 years and their third since begin football play in 1928.
East Central took advantage of the two Kilgore fumbles in the first quarter to jump out to a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes of play. They scored their first touchdown at the 7:03 mark on a 15-yard run by wide receiver Tredarian Gamble. Their second two touchdowns came as the result of the fumbles; first with 6:14 left in the quarter. Defensive back Jaylon Lofton picked up the first fumble and romped 15 yards for the score. The third touchdown came with 12 seconds remaining in the quarter when an alert Austin Balthazor was in the right place at the right time. The strong safety picked up the loose ball and carried it 90 yards for the Warriors score. Kicker Aaron Garrett split the uprights for all three extra points.
Kilgore was finally able to find the end zone with 4:52 remaining in the first half. Tailback Martinez Syria capped a three-play, 45-yard drive with a 32-yard run for a touchdown. Troy Duran added the kicking extra point to make the score 21-7 in favor of ECCC at the half.
In the third quarter, both teams reached the end zone twice to close out the game scoring. The Warriors added two touchdowns on a 15-yard pass from Jesse Hosket to wide receiver Devin McIntosh at the 13:33 mark and a 38-yard pass from Hosket to wide receiver Kabion Ento with 4:48 left in the quarter. Duran added the kicking extra point on both scores. The Rangers added to their score on 20-yard pass from quarterback Josh Bolfing to tight end Jarod Wood at the 6:34 mark of the quarter. They closed out their scoring with a nine-yard pass from Bolfing to Wood with 1:49 left.
With his fumble recovery for a touchdown and six tackles in the game, Balthazor was selected at the game’s Defensive Most Valuable Player. Ranger wide receiver Garrett Barton, with 10 receptions for 86 yards and two carries for 16 yards, was selected as the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Game.