Football -- Warriors snap 9-game skid
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on September 12, 2004 2:01 AM
Eastern Wayne got a big monkey off its back Friday night after beating South Central 12-7 Friday night at the Little Big Horn.
The Falcons had to drive back to Winterville with an even bigger monkey still in place.
A late touchdown drive by the Warriors proved to be the difference in the game as Eastern Wayne got its first win and first Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference victory of the season over the second-year South Central program. The Falcons are still in search of the school's first win.
Eastern Wayne snapped a nine-game losing streak with the victory. Both of Warrior coach Jeff Price's wins in his tenure at Eastern Wayne have come against South Central.
"Our guys did a super job tonight," said Price. "Our backs were against the wall there for a while and we found a way to win. They just didn't want to walk out of here with an L -- they wanted to get that W tonight."
South Central outgained Eastern Wayne by almost 2-to-1, but they also had more than double the penalties. Those 85 penalty yards, combined with key defensive plays from Eastern Wayne, ended up keeping South Central out of the end zone after the first six minutes of the game.
The Falcons' offense took only five plays to rush 35 yards to a touchdown on its first drive. On the next possession, a drive was squandered when Adrian Black blocked South Central's field goal attempt from the 20.
Following a spurt of frantic turnovers all around, including back-to-back lost fumbles and an interception picked off by Eastern Wayne's Trey Johnson, junior quarterback Tyler Ham took Eastern Wayne's offense into the end zone in a 61-yard drive, connecting with tight end Riley Wilkins for 48 passing yards, including the 17 yard touchdown pass.
Eastern Wayne scored again late in the fourth quarter to move ahead after an 85-yard drive, powered in part by Al Graham's 40 rushing yards and another Ham-to-Wilkins connection for 19 more. Graham capped the drive with a three-yard scoring burst. South Central's Chris Horton punched away the conversion pass to keep the score at 12-7.
South Central made two more drives to try for the game-winning touchdown. But the Falcons were stopped by a fumble, recovered by Eastern Wayne's David Ratliff and then by the clock after two Hail Mary passes from deep in their own side of the field came up empty.
South Central coach Kemp Ewing said his Falcons played well, were held back by 10 penalties that set them back a total of 85 yards.
"I thought we did a really good job offensively and defensively. I'm proud of my kids and the way they played," he said. "We controlled the ball three-quarters of the game; we marched up and down the field at will, but the penalties just killed us. The penalties took us back 10-to-15 yards at a clip. We got down into the red zone a couple of times, but the penalties murdered us tonight."
Price said that like South Central, his team was also trying to build a new program.
"We cleaned everything out of the barn and we're starting over from ground zero," he said. "We've got to learn how to win now."
Next week both teams are on the road, with South Central traveling to Southern Wayne and Eastern Wayne visiting Washington.
South Central 7 0 0 0 -- 7
Eastern Wayne 0 6 0 6 -- 12
SC -- Griffin 3 run (Kinsley kick) 9:11
EW -- Wilkins 17 pass from Ham (kick failed) 6:29
EW -- Graham 3 run (conversion failed) 4:44
E. Wayne S. Central
First downs 7 15
Rushes-yds. 20-101 53-218
Passing yds. 73 41
Total yards 175 259
Comp.-att.-int. 4-10-0 1-4-2
Fumbles-lost 3-2 4-2
Penalties-yds. 4-30 10-85
Punts-avg. 3-36 1-30
RUSHING -- Eastern Wayne -- Al Graham, 12-82, TD; Zach Williams, 1-(-1); Brad Brofft, 2-8; Tyler Ham, 4-8; Don Nickerson, 1-4. South Central -- Tyrell Worthington, 18-99; Curtis Davis, 22-62; Michael Griffin, 4-9, TD; Cody Covil, 4-41; Jamal Cross, 1-6; Zack Bleber, 2-(-9).
PASSING -- Eastern Wayne -- Zach Williams 1-5-0-6, Tyler Ham 3-5-0-67, TD. South Central -- Zack Bleber 1-4-2-41.
RECEIVING -- Eastern Wayne -- Taylor Jackson 1-6; Riley Wilkins 3-67, TD. South Central -- Jamal Cross 1-41.
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