CATEGORY: FOC College Football
HED:Another stiff test awaits ICC Saturday
By D.E. Wheeler
FULTON There were smiles all around the football field and on the campus of Itawamba Community College last Thursday after the Indians had beaten nationally ranked East Central 21-7.
But mid-season wins can not be savored too long, especially with ICC having to prepare for its important North Division opener Saturday with East Mississippi.
"We're tickled that we won and we played a lot better than we had played the last two weeks," ICC head coach Jay Miller said. "But the things that enabled us to win, we've got to keep on doing against East Mississippi, and we're working hard to make sure that happens."
What enabled Itawamba (2-2) to overcome a two-game losing streak and beat No. 11 East Central? Good efforts at key times during the game on offense, defense, and special teams.
I think this was like a turning point in the season," said freshman safety Cameron Coleman of Tupelo, who had two interceptions against Central and nearly had two others. "The first game was a learning experience for us.
"In the Hinds game, we found out we could be beat. Thursday, we found out we can play with anybody."
Coleman and the ICC defense put the clamps on Central after the first quarter, not allowing any points to be added to the first period touchdown.
On the offensive side, solid runs by Andre Corbin opened up the ICC passing game, with Shalando Jones making the most of the loose Central defense. The Pontotoc freshman grabbed five passes for 134 yards and one score.
And with the Indians' special teams, a 67-yard punt return by John Taylor highlighted Itawamba's effort on that front.
"In the second half, at times, you could see it start to come together for us," Coleman said.
Now it must come together for always tough East Mississippi, which hosts ICC Saturday at 2 p.m.
"East Mississippi is famous for running backs, and it seems they've got three of them this year," Miller said. "They're going to run the football, that's what we know.
"They also blitz on defense. We've got to pick up the blitz. We're going to get people open in our passing game if we pick up the blitz."
"In this league, one loss, and you've got to depend on someone else to beat somebody," Coleman said. We know how important this game is."