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Northeast runs past East Mississippi Lions

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 28, 2001
SCOOBA The look on East Mississippi quarterback Scotty Elliot's face pretty much told the state of affairs of Thursday night's game with Northeast Community College here at Sullivan-Windham Field.
Elliot's Lions were smashed by the visiting Tigers following an avalanche of 27 unanswered second half points. Northeast rolls into first place in the Mississippi Junior College North Division with the 41-14 win.
The loss drops East Mississippi to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the North Division.
Elliot, wearing a heavy brace on his knee that was hurt in week one at Southwest, could only lead the Lions to just two first downs in the second half.
Northeast had so such problems. The Tigers dominated the second half by rushing for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
For East Mississippi Head Coach Tom Goode, the Lions inability to stop the Tigers' ground game was the difference.
Perhaps the biggest self-inflicted mistake came on the first play of the fourth quarter. East was still in the game at 21-14 as the quarter started and Northeast was facing a third-and-19 at its own 42.
Quarterback Ramon Burse, who had all of one-yard passing on the night, over threw his receiver on a long pass play. A big reason why was because the Lions were guilty of defensive holding.
The Tigers picked up a cheap first down and resumed their ground march. Ten straight rushes finally produced a one-yard TD plunge by Burse. The kick by Hal Kerstetter made it 28-14 with 9:50 left in the game.
East appeared to get a break when Henry Barnett recovered a muffed punt by Northeast. The Lions took over at the Northeast 45.
Elliot went back and threw a dart to receiver Matt Vaughn. He was hit as soon as the ball arrived. Instead of an incompletion, the jarred ball was ruled a fumble. Northeast's Anthony Rhodes returned it 52 yards to the Lion three.
Lawrence Tynes, who had 161 yards on 27 carries, scored on the next play. Kerstetter's kick made it 35-14 with 7:34 left.
The Tigers added one more score with 2:38 left when back-up quarterback T.J. Seago rumbled 60 yards.
Elliot may have known he was in for a tough night when on the first play of the game, his pass to Michael Johnson was batted up in the air and fell into the arms of Northeast's Carl Mitchell. Mitchell took the pick 24 yards for the touchdown. Kerstetter's kick made it 7-0 just 20 seconds into the game.
A second Tiger interception late in the quarter set up a second touchdown. Fullback Ronnie Ricks scored on a four-yard run and the kick made it 14-0 with 14:56 left in the half.
East began a comeback as Elliot led the Lions on a 46-yard drive following a recovered fumble. He hit Vaughn for a two-yard touchdown. The kick was blocked leaving the score at 14-6 with 7:44 left.
Late in the half, Northeast tried to run a reverse at mid-field but the play was botched. The ball was scooped up and returned 44 yards for the touchdown. Elliot then hit Johnson for the two-point conversion tying the game at 14-14 with 2:46 left in the half.
Northeast took the second half kickoff and marched 71 yards in 11 plays. Ricks cracked in from the eight to put the Tigers ahead to stay. Kerstetter's kick made it 21-14 with 8:52 left in the third quarter.
Elliot finished eight of 18 passing for 90 yards. Tailback David Yates was held to just 30 yards on 17 carries. East finished with only 153 yards in offense.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at