The Ellsworth Community College football team finished a tough 2013 season placing 5th in the Midwest Football Conference.
The season started off with a tough road game against North Dakota State College of Science; the halftime score was 0-0 and NDSCS came out on top with a final score of 32-16. The second match-up with NDSCS ended in a double overtime loss for the Panthers. Iowa Western (ranked #3 in the nation) beat Ellsworth 61-0 and 63-6. Game three against Arkansas Baptist went into 5 overtimes, with Ellsworth getting its first win and Coach Lattimer's first win as Ellsworth's head coach, 29-26. The next opponent was Iowa Central; the Panthers beat their rival 14-10 in the first contest but fell 20-21 in the second game. Iowa Central's kicker made three field goals of 45, 51, and 52 yards in the second half with their defense scoring a safety to win. Against DuPage (ranked #20 in nation) both games were heavy fought battles; the Chaparrals won both contests by scores of 17-9 in the first game and 25-11 in the second. Georgia Military (ranked #1 in the country) beat Ellsworth 46-13 in game six. Georgia Military is playing for the national championship this season.
"We had a tough season but I felt like we were in every ball game at some point in time," said Coach Josh Lattimer. "We won two football games, one in 5 overtimes and another game with less than a minute left on the clock. We lost eight games this season, with five of those losses coming to teams that were ranked nationally. In the other three games, we lost our first match-up of the season, one game in two overtimes to NDSCS, and a game to Iowa Central by one point."
Along with their tough playing schedule the Panthers were plagued with multiple injuries. They finished the season with a total of 35 players who suited, but could have had a total of 60 players on the travel squad if not for injuries. "Our guys played every game to the end with emotion and heart. I'm proud of this group of young men. They left everything they had on the field every game," commented Lattimer.
Ellsworth had multiple standouts on the field who were a huge help during the season. They had two of the top tacklers in the Midwest Football Conference in Devante Averette and Irving Steele, both of whom have received Division 1 scholarship offers. Averette has committed to Oklahoma State University and Steele has committed to the University of Idaho.
Other standouts included Corry O'Meally, a corner for the Panthers, who has several D1 offers including Iowa State University. Lamore Wise had a great season going both ways on offense as a running back and on defense as an outside linebacker. Demarkus Carey and Terrell Simmons, both returning all-conference players from 2012, had good years for the Panthers. Oscar Ross made the move from wide receiver to quarterback after the fourth game of the year and lead the offense, giving everything he had each day of the week. Ciavy Wiles, a wide receiver for the panthers, has D1 offers from South Alabama University and Georgia State University. DJ Loving anchored the offensive line.
Eleven players on the ECC football team received NJCAA All-Conference honors. First Team All- Conference included Devante Averette, Irving Steele and Corry O'Meally. Second Team All-Conference included Oscar Ross, Trey Gilbert, Brian Steffensmeier, Lamore Wise, Demarkus Cary and Dayton Balvanz. Ciavy Wiles and Terrell Simmons received honorable mention.