Warriors knock off Pam Pack, still unbeaten in ECC play
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 19, 2004 8:13 AM
WASHINGTON -- Tornado warnings and heavy rains, remnants of tropical storm Ivan, forced a suspension of Friday evening's Eastern Wayne road contest against Washington.
Warrior coach Jeff Price considered the one-plus hour delay a "divine intervention." The long break gave his team, which played lethargic for much of the opening half, a chance to gather their wits.
Once play resumed, a spirited Eastern Wayne team exited the locker room and used that energy in positive fashion. The Warrior defense demonstrated its mettle in the second half, while the offense manufactured key touchdowns in a 20-14 victory against the Pam Pack.
Eastern Wayne (2-2) remained unbeaten in two Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference outings, and won a league road game for just the fourth time since 2001. Washington remained winless in five outings.
"That was the football gods that swooped down tonight," Price said. "We were as flat as we could be the first half. That first quarter and (part) of the second quarter.
"We were not inspired. I don't think we wanted to be out here."
Washington received the opening kickoff and moved the football with ease. Quarterback Mat Tanner orchestrated a 5-minute, 27-second drive that featured 11 running plays combined from Lee Watkins and Antwone Parker. Parker finished it off with a six-yard run to give the Pam Pack a 6-0 lead.
Eastern Wayne turned the ball over on downs on its first two possessions. Washington (0-2 ECC) started another potential scoring drive inside Warrior territory and advanced to second-and-goal at the 13 as lightning flashed close to Wagner Stadium.
Officials suspended the contest and 10 minutes later cleared the stadium due to tornado warnings in the Beaufort County area.
The Warriors used the intermission wisely.
"We had a prayer meeting," a grinning Price said. "They came out inspired and I thought they were going to beat the door down before the storm passed. We played a great second half."
Parker's five-yard run around right end helped Washington build a 14-0 lead just before halftime. However, the Warriors quickly seized momentum when junior quarterback Tyler Ham threw a perfect 56-yard scoring strike to Clint Rouse just 14 seconds after the Pam Pack's score.
The momentum-swinging touchdown renewed the Warriors' confidence.
"It was a big play," Price said. "We knew what they were going to do (defensively) and hit that bubble real hard. We just went on top and Clint made a great catch."
Eastern Wayne's defense, despite yielding 368 yards, turned in several strong plays in the second half. Sophomore linebacker John Yates intercepted Tanner and returned it 70 yards to the end zone, but an illegal block in the back negated the game-tying touchdown.
The rejuvenated offense, guided by Ham, needed just two plays to find the end zone. Ham threw a high spiraling pass down the right sideline to Wilkins, who caught it in stride and headed in for six. Stephen Stackhouse boosted his second PAT for the 14-14 tie midway through the third quarter.
Washington continued to move the ball on the slippery turf, but stalled due to penalties or dropped passes. Warrior lineman David Ratliff, defensive end Brandon Sanders and defensive back Corey Schley each had tackles for loss yardage as the game progressed.
Quinn Davis' tip and interception of a Tanner pass set up Eastern Wayne's game-winning score. Starting quarterback Zach Williams led a six-play, 54-yard march that ended with his 16-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Jackson.
"I feel very blessed to have two quarterbacks and I'm sure a lot of coaches would have issues with that," Price said. "I rotate quarterbacks like receivers and I have to say that both of them, especially Zach being a senior, are both unselfish.
"They are both capable of doing the job."
But the Pam Pack didn't quit, until a questionable fumble recovery halted a potential scoring drive. Tanner rolled out and completed a pass to Harry Arthur in double coverage. Warrior linebacker Adrian Black, a sophomore, popped Arthur from the side and knocked the ball loose.
Trey Johnson, who led the defense with 15 tackles and three assists, recovered the fumble. The sideline judge ruled it a catch and fumble, which drew the ire of Washington coach Sport Sawyer.
Price couldn't have asked for a better second-half effort and he can't be more pleased with the Warriors' perfect ECC slate at this point. However, numbers are taken at face value and Price knows work remains to be done.
"It's a great feeling, especially going into Homecoming week," Price said. "I hope the Eastern Wayne student body and community will look at that 2-0 and realize it's a great accomplishment from where we've come from."
Eastern Wayne 0 7 7 6 -- 20
Washington 6 8 0 0 -- 14
W -- Rodgers 2 run (kick failed), 6:33
W -- Parker 5 run (Rodgers pass from Tanner), 2:00
EW -- Rouse 56 pass from Ham (Stackhouse kick), 1:46
EW -- Wilkins 44 pass from Ham (Stackhouse kick), 7:11
EW -- Jackson 16 pass from Williams (kick failed), 4:23
First downs 10 24
Rushes-yds 22-27 46-172
Passing yds 173 196
Total yards 200 368
Att.-Comp.-Int. 17-6-0 25-14-2
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-1
Punts-avg. 6-28.5 3-32.0
Penalties-yds 9-75 12-93
RUSHING -- Eastern Wayne -- Al Graham 16-51; Brad Brofft 1-0; Zach Williams 5-(-24). Washington -- Antwone Parker 21-108, TD; Lee Watkins 16-40; Nigel Rodgers 6-13, TD; Mat Tanner 3-11.
PASSING -- Eastern Wayne -- Zach Williams 4-13-0 73, TD; Tyler Ham 2-4-0 100, 2 TDs. Washington -- Mat Tanner 14-24-2 196; Antwone Parker 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING -- Eastern Wayne -- Clint Rouse 2-82, TD; Riley Wilkins 1-44, TD; Brian Sutton 1-27; Tyler Jackson 2-20, TD. Washington -- Nigel Rodgers 6-85; Calvin Daniels 5-58; Harry Arthur 3-53.
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