The Meridian Star
The 2013 season hasn't kicked off, but on paper — and to first year head coach Ken Karcher — it looks to be a battle for the East Central Community College Warriors after the school released its 2013 schedule.
"Every week will be a challenge," Karcher said. "What I've tried to challenge our young men is that we'll take one game at a time and prepare ourselves mentally to do what we can do, but we'll have to give great effort in the games."
East Central faces a tough schedule, facing multiple top-ranked teams according to the JCGridiron.com poll. The Warriors finished the 2012 season at 3-6 (2-4 South Division).
"We are going to be going against some great teams with some longer traditions than we have," Karcher said. "It's going to be a challenge. There's nobody on our schedule that I will say, 'Oh boy, that's an easy win!'"
The Warriors' starters will head to the 50-yard line to open the season at No. 19 Itawamba in Fulton on Thursday, Aug. 29. The following two weeks won't get any easier as Week 2 takes them into Scooba for No. 6 East Mississippi on Sept. 5.
"That's probably not the way you want to start your season," Karcher said.
Copiah-Lincoln, the defending MACJC Champions, will travel to Decatur for the home opener on Thursday, Sept. 12, as the first of four home games this season.
Other visitors to Bailey Stadium include Jones County Junior College on October 3, Mississippi Delta on Saturday, Oct. 12, for homecoming and preseason No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast to closeout the regular season on Oct. 24.
Gulf Coast is topping the rankings after a 9-2 season but missed the NJCAA bowl schedule. East Mississippi, Delta and Itawamba are the Warriors opponents from the North Division.
The Warriors will hit the road in weeks five and six, heading to Southwest on Sept. 19 and Hinds on Sept. 26. Their final trip will be to Pearl River for their homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 19.
It may be his first season at the Juco level, but Karcher isn't lacking the experience. He has been coaching for 22 years after finishing up a four-year stint at Eastern Michigan University as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
Karcher said he is excited to get into the new level, but with a realistic attitude about the youth of the team, but with hope for the future.
A new coaching staff is generally a shake up, but 45 incoming freshmen will mean that the majority of the team is new to Juco football.
"It makes you a lot nervous, we have a long way to go and like I said, it's going to be a great challenge," Karcher said. "Hopefully, we won't make many mistakes and improve each week and put ourselves in position to win games at the end."