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ECU veterans don't want this ending


East Carolina's Trevon Brown eludes a defender on his way to a touchdown against Virginia Tech on Sept. 16 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It is now midseason and the writing has long since been on the wall for East Carolina football, now 1-5 as the Pirates face one of their toughest games of the season on Saturday at Central Florida.

Especially for some of the team’s elder players, this is not the outcome they had scripted or dreamed about, and now time is getting short to do something about it.

“You can only imagine me going through my senior year like this. Nobody expected it, but we’ve got to take it how it is and do it by leading by example and being a vocal leader,” said starting right tackle Brandon Smith, one of the few sure things on the ECU offense this season. “I’ll be the vocal leader. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for this team. If everybody’s got that mentality and is focused on their job and winning, nobody can stop us but us.”

The Pirates finally found their first win of the season at Connecticut on Sept. 24, but since then they have been outscored 95-41 in two blowout losses.

Understandably, the season’s first half has been accompanied by some sobering moments on and off the field, creating unforeseen new challenges for players like Smith to help counsel other players.

“It’s surprising because this team is closer than any other team I’ve been on,” said Smith, a Kernersville native. “It’s weird. We’ve been getting hit with body blows and now we’ve got to come back, keep pressing, keep rebuilding. We can’t give up, The record is what it is. We’ve just got to keep on working hard.”

Those on the team looking for a jolt of confidence need to look no further than junior wide receiver Trevon Brown, who has been another mainstay play-maker this season. He has 23 receptions and two long touchdown catches, one of them a school-record 95-yard catch and run at West Virginia.

Brown believes the Pirates’ big moment of the season is still out there.

“Our confidence is not going anywhere,” he said. “We come out and do the same thing every game and there might be times when we get down there and don’t score in the red zone, get three points, but every game if you look at it, we’re moving the ball, we’re hitting on all cylinders. It’s just some games there is a lack of focus with all of us.

“We all think it’s going to come soon. We all think it’s coming every week,” Brown said of his team’s search for its first big break in a frustrating season. “It just still hasn’t come yet. We’re still fighting just to get to that point ... where everything turns around because of how hard we’ve been working in practice and how hard we’ve been working for each other.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.