08/29/04 — Warriors stay upbeat despite opening-season loss

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Warriors stay upbeat despite opening-season loss

By David Williams
Published in Sports on August 29, 2004 2:03 AM

GOLDSBORO -- No one will ever accuse Eastern Wayne head football coach Jeff Price of being less than optimistic.

The Warrior coach remained positive and upbeat after his team opened the season with a 36-6 defeat at the hands of the visiting Jacksonville Cardinals Friday night at Little Big Horn.

"I know these kids," Price said. "They have worked hard and they are ready for the payoff. They just need to learn how to win and how to play the game."

Jacksonville broke a nine-game losing streak and brought returning coach Ray Durham his first win in his newest stint as head football coach. The Cardinals won their opener last year -- at home against Eastern Wayne -- and proceeded to lose nine straight games, missing the playoffs.

Little went right for the Warriors, especially in the opening half.

The kickoff returner for Eastern Wayne touched his knee to the ground picking up the opening kickoff to set the Warriors up at their own three-yard line. Two plays into the series, Patrick Maloney burst through and corralled Brad Brofft in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Cards' lead.

Jacksonville took the ensuing kick and drove the ball 49 yards in seven plays, as Kyle Snelling took the ball in from 12 yards out. Austin Royal's PAT was true and Jacksonville had a 9-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

Snelling scored again on a 28-yard run on the next series as Eastern Wayne struggled with momentum. The most crushing blow of the night came 10 minutes before the half when linebacker Richard Jones broke his leg and was rushed to the hospital. The team suffered from the shock losing their comrade, and it took the rest of the first half for them to recover.

"It threw them," said Price. "But they're gonna be fine."

Jacksonville scored twice more -- once on a 10-yard run by Snelling and again just before half as Anthony Williams capped a six-play, 67-yard drive with a 43-yard dash through the Warrior defense.

Down 29-0 at half, the offense found some life to open the third quarter. Tyler Ham guided the Warriors on a seven-play surge, covering 58 yards, hooking up with Clint Rouse on an 18-yard pass to get on the board. But the Cardinals answered as Snelling and Jarrod Lewis pounded the ball up the middle until Griffin Coxe delivered the knockout blow, a seven-yard run up the gut to score the game's final touchdown.

The Warriors managed just 87 yards of offense, 50 of it through the air. Running back Al Graham led the ground attack with 34 yards on seven carries. Riley Wilkins caught two passes for 36 yards.

"Eastern Wayne played hard," Durham said. "They never quit and fought to the end."

No running back exceeded 100 yards on the night, but Williams had 99 yards on 14 carries to pace Jacksonville. Lewis had 82 yards on 13 totes and Bobby Hatchell added 60 yards on five carries.

"Mistakes put us in a hole and it was hard to get out of it," Price said. "It wasn't the kind of night we wanted, but the kids have worked hard and practiced hard. There's going to be a payoff."

Eastern Wayne travels to Havelock on Friday night.

Jacksonville 16 13 7 0 -- 36

Eastern Wayne 0 0 6 0 -- 6

First quarter

J -- Safety, runner tackled in end zone (11:05

J -- Snelling 12 run (Royal kick) 8:05

J -- Snelling 28 run (Royal kick) 4:01

Second quarter

J -- Snelling 10 run (Royal kick) 5:23

J -- Williams 43 run (kick fail) :21

Third quarter

EW -- Rouse 16 pass from Ham (kick blocked) 7:23

J -- Coxe 7 run (Royal kick) 4:41

Jax EW

First downs 17 5

Rushes-yds 49-320 24-37

Pass yds 28 50

Total yds 348 87

Comp-att-int 3-5-0 5-11-0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2

Penalties-yds 7-45 8-45

Punts none 4-28.0


RUSHING -- Jacksonville -- Anthony Williams 14-99, TD; Jarod Lewis 13-82; Bobby Hatchell 5-60; Kyle Snelling 9-53, 3 TD; Griffin Coxe 5-31, TD; Matt Cross 4-(-5). Eastern Wayne -- Al Graham 7-34; Brad Brofft 14-14; Drew McKnight 1-2; Zach Williams 2-(-13).

PASSING -- Jacksonville -- Matt Cross 3-5-28-0. Eastern Wayne -- Zach Williams 2-6-(-2)-0; Tyler Ham 3-5-52-0, TD.

RECEIVING -- Jacksonville -- Bobby Hatchell 2-10; Jon-Jon Mirra 1-18. Eastern Wayne -- Riley Wilkins 2-36; Clint Rouse 2-22, TD; Brad Brofft 1-(-8).