GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina returned to Bagwell Field inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday morning for its second scrimmage of the spring campaign under fifth-year head coach Mike Houston. The controlled outing featured a pair of ariel scores from sophomore Mason Garcia, solid defensive play that resulted in 12 tackles for loss and four successful field goal attempts.

Coach Houston post-practice interview (April 1, 2023)

Garcia led the quarterback group completed 7-of-12 passes for 127 yards and a pair of scores. After junior Alex Flinn led an 8-play drive that started on his own 20-yard line that concluded with Andrew Conrad’s 21-yard field goal, Garcia threw a 60-yard strike to senior Jsi Hatfield to open his second drive accounting for the first touchdown pass of the afternoon. On his third drive of the afternoon, Garcia orchestrated a 10-play drive resulted in a Kerry King four-yard grab followed by Laith Marjan’s PAT.

Flinn, who completed 5-of-8 passes for 64 yards also guided the Pirates to another scoring drive (seven plays) resulting in a Carson Smith 35-yard field goal to close out the scrimmage. Freshman Raheim Jeter completed 2-of-3 passes for 17 yards and led his group to a pair of field goals on Owen Daffer’s 37-yarder and Andrew Conrad’s 27-yarder.

The ground attack saw nine different players with a rush tallying 114 yards on 41 carries. Garcia led all rushers with 25 yards (5 carries), while graduate transfer Gerald Green and redshirt freshman Nemo Squire each both registered 24 yards on eight carries. Freshman Javoius Bond (five carries) and sophomore Marlon Gunn Jr. (five carries) added 19 and 17 yards respectively.

Hatfield (two for 66 yards) and King (two for 18 yards) both caught touchdown passes to lead the receiving corps. Sophomore Jhari Patterson hauled in two throws for 39 yards while junior transfer Ryan King caught two passes for and additional 37 yards.

Defensively, the Pirates were led by junior Devon King and sophomore Xavier McIver who each registered a team-best six tackles. McIver added a pair of sacks (-7 yards), while junior D’Anta Johnson was credited with four stops and a pair of TFLs (-3 yards). In all, eight different Pirates recorded at least one hit behind the line of scrimmage tallying minus 37 yards. Joining Johnson with four stops were redshirt freshman Zayke Barker, senior Jack Powers and junior G’Mone Wilson.

ECU’s special teams unit connected on four field goal attempts and drilled a pair of PATs for a combined 14 points on the day. Sophomore Andrew Conrad was good from 21 and 27 yards out, while Daffer made a 37-yarder and sophomore Carson Smith was successful from 35 yards. Junior punter Luke Larsen punted three times for 153 yards including his opening punt of 65 yards that resulted in a touchback.

The Pirates will return to the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Tuesday to begin their fourth and final week of spring drills before wrapping up work with the annual Purple-Gold Game on Saturday, April 8. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and admission is free.