ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Erie Community College Kats struggled offensively Saturday, until it mattered most. After a slow start to the game, the Kats mounted an attack in the second half and beat the Globe Institute Knights 17-6 in their season opener at Jim Ball Stadium.
The Kats had quality drives throughout the game but squandered scoring opportunities due to penalties and turnovers.
The Kats wasted an opportunity early in the game when the Knights’ punter struggled with the snap which led to a turnover inside the red zone. After two penalties and a failed fourth down attempt, the Kats gave the ball back to the Knights at their own four-yard line.
In the second quarter, the Kats defense stepped up and caused a turnover, intercepting a pass from Knights quarterback Larry Joshua. Kats linebacker Brandon Cannon stepped in front of the pass which gave the Kats the ball at the Knights 36 yard line. After another long drive, the Kats failed to get more than one first down and had to settle for a 40-yard field.
Once they reached the third quarter things changed. The first possession for the Kats was a 13-play drive that ended with a Shannon Hightower 8-yard touchdown reception from Connor Simmons. This gave ECC their first lead of the day at 10-6.
The Kats carried the momentum from their offense to the defensive side of the ball, causing another turnover on the following Knights drive. After a long drive by the Knights, the Kats defense made a defensive stand and stopped Joshua at the one-yard line on a fourth and goal early in the fourth quarter.
The teams would trade possessions in the fourth quarter until the Kats would score again to put the game out of reach. Charles Fuller would rush from six yards out for a touchdown, putting the Kats up 17-6 late in the fourth quarter and they wouldn’t look back.
Kats quarterback Simmons finished the day 10 of 18 for 57 yards and one touchdown while Fuller rushed for 90 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown. Hightower led all receivers on the Kats with 33 receiving yards and one touchdown. Overall, the Kats totaled 166 rushing yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
On defense, the Kats finished the day with seven sacks and two interceptions. Venson Constant led the Kats with four tackles while Okoya Anderson finished with three tackles.
The Kats get a week off before traveling to New Berlin, N.Y to take on Milford Academy on Sept. 14.