The Ellsworth Community College football team won its third straight Graphic Edge Bowl title in dominating fashion with a score of 55-32 over Rochester Community & Technical College on Sunday, Dec. 4.
The Panthers came out fast and scored a quick touchdown with 12:46 on the clock in the first quarter on a seven-yard run from QB Paris Chambers. ECC would score one more time in the first quarter with a one-yard run from Chambers. Rochester kept it close in the first quarter, scoring two touchdowns of their own. The ECC defense kept RCTC scoreless in the second quarter while the Panthers scored two more touchdowns on an 18-yard pass from Chambers to Ben Rooney and a 3-yard run from Juwan Petit-Frere. ECC was leading at halftime 27-12.
In the third quarter ECC and Rochester went touchdown for touchdown, each scoring two. ECC's Tekendrick Roberson had a 1-yard run for the first touchdown and Petit-Frere caught a 23-yard pass from Chambers. The Panthers scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter with a 23-yard pass from Chambers to Petit-Frere and a one-yard run by Turner Broihson.
"We came out and scored in those first two possessions, but we let them back in the game," said ECC Head Coach Jesse Montalto. "But our guys are a resilient group and they have been all year. We never stopped fighting or competing."
Chambers was awarded Offensive MVP player of the game. He had 174 yards passing with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
"Paris was a one-man show in the game. They couldn't stop him between throwing and running. He's a savvy quarterback and we are excited that we will have him for one more year."
Austin Sowers made an appearance at quarterback and threw for 41 yards. Roberson was second leading rusher for ECC with 86 yards and a touchdown. Petite-Frere rushed for 31 yards and one touchdown and averaged 20.6 yards receiving for two touchdowns. Devon Russell was leading returner with 174 yards; he averaged 34.8 yards per return.
Nikolas Ricks received Defensive MVP player of the game honors; he had 5 tackles with 3 of those being solo.
"Nikolas made big plays in the backfield and big stops when he needed to," said Montalto. "He brought everything he had today and left it all on the field and made plays when he needed to."
The Panthers' victory takes them to a 23-5 record for bowl games, which is the most bowl victories in NJCAA history. Coach Montalto has won a Graphic Edge Bowl title each of his three years coaching at Ellsworth.
Photo Caption: 2016 Graphic Edge Bowl winners!