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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

NMCC 'D' shines against Chicks

Monday, September 3, 2001

(Photo)
Blytheville's Cedric Johnson intercepts a pass intended for Desmond Sims (18) on the one-yard line in Friday's game.
NEW MADRID -- The coach and the quarterback were new, but New Madrid County Central's defense looked the same in the season opener Friday night, allowing just 62 yards of offense to traditional Arkansas power Blytheville in a 28-0 shutout.

"For the most part, I thought the kids played hard," said NMCC coach Steve Rogers. "I think we're going to have a pretty exciting football team this year. I'm just happy to get my first win."

Blytheville's defense also gave a solid effort, containing NMCC's potent running game. Standout Dereke Tipler led the team in rushing with 40 yards on 11 carries, and eight other backs combined for just 79 yards.

"We were a little sluggish at first, and we're not in nearly as good of shape as we're going to get in," said Rogers. "It takes us a while to play ourselves into shape. Blytheville has a good run-defense, and we knew that coming in. They were a lot bigger than us."

While NMCC's running game struggled, new quarterback Brian Murph was able to move the ball through the air, throwing for 213 yards on 6-of-13 passing.

"I've been touting (Murph) all summer for his leadership and dedication, and I think he proved it tonight," said Rogers. "He's got good escapability, he can run the option, and he's got a rocket for an arm. We're definitely going to take advantage of that this year."

Desmond Sims, one of the fastest rising college prospects in the state, returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to set the tone for the Eagles.

"(Sims) is a heck of a player, and he made a heck of a run," said Blytheville head coach Doug Quinn. "We got beat on a couple of big plays. I was real proud of the effort of our football players. I think we played hard and did some things really well."

Kicker Jordan Kimball then kept the crowd on its feet by kicking the PAT. The Eagles were a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points in the game, an area they struggled in last season. NMCC's second touchdown of the game came in the second quarter, as Tipler received an option pitch from Murph and took it 20 yards to paydirt. Murph hooked up with Sims later in the quarter for a 60-yard touchdown pass, giving the Eagles a 21-0 halftime lead.

"I thought we showed our big-play capabilities," said Rogers. "I know we're going to be high-powered."

After a scoreless third quarter, NMCC scored its fourth touchdown at the start of the third, as Murph found Terrance Smith for an 82-yard touchdown strike.

Smith led all receivers with two catches for 107 yards.

Blytheville's leading rusher was bruising fullback Robert Harris, who collected 26 yards on four carries, but sat out the second half nursing a dislocated finger.

"I had hoped we would do a better job of controlling the football and taking time off the clock," said Quinn. "We're young and inexperienced on our line and we've got a lot of work to do."

NMCC (1-0) will travel to Cape Central this Friday night.

"We didn't do a good job of blocking," said Rogers. "It's not just the line, it's the backs and everyone else. We're going back to fundamentals on Tuesday. We've got a lot of room for improvement. If we ever do start hitting on all cylinders, look out."