VANCLEAVE — Vancleave got a much-needed win on Friday night as it beat East Central 27-7 in the annual Pascagoula River Bowl.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-2 in Region 4-5A play to keep their postseason hopes alive while the Hornets fell to 0-4 in the region. Vancleave is 3-6 overall and ECHS is 2-7.
The bowl’s MVP trophy was presented to the entire Bulldogs defense, which forced two fumbles and four turnovers on downs in the rivalry
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Hunter Parker was a focal point of the offense for Vancleave. He accounted for 87 yards on the ground, 75 yards through the air and a touchdown pass.
Bulldogs running back Hunter Harper only carried the ball five times but made the most of his opportunities as he racked up 80 rushing
yards and two touchdowns.
Hornets running back Cody Youch rushed the ball 10 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Vancleave struck first with a 39-yard touchdown on a shovel pass from Parker to wide receiver Layton Eder to grab an early 7-0 lead.
East Central answered on the next drive with a 30-yard touchdown run by Youch to tie the game at 7.
Harper found the end zone on a 34-yard run to give the Bulldogs the lead back late in the first quarter.
After a scoreless second quarter, VHS went into halftime with a 13-7 lead.
The quarter was highlighted by the Bulldogs defense forcing a fumble as East Central threatened on first-and-goal.
Kyle Capers scored on a 39-yard run to add to Vancleave’s lead in the third quarter. A missed extra point left the score at 19-7.
With seven minutes left in the game, Harper got his second touchdown of the night on a 40-yard run.
The Bulldog’s defense put the game out of reach by forcing the Hornets to fumble on the next drive.
The victory gave Vancleave its first win against East Central in seven years as the Hornets had won seven straight in the rivalry.
Vancleave (3-6) will be back at home next week in another must-win
game, this time against Wayne County. East Central (2-7) will host Stone High in its final game of the regular season next week.