Prep football -- Warriors give Eagles big scare at home
Published in Sports on October 3, 2004 2:00 AM
"High school football at its best."
Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price assessed Friday's game with West Craven with those six simple words after the Eagles escaped the Little Big Horn with a 12-7 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference victory.
The Warriors, winners of three straight, carried hopes of victory until the final second, when West Craven intercepted what would have been the winning touchdown pass on the final play of the game.
West Craven remains unbeaten in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference, dropping Eastern Wayne to 3-1 in ECC play. West Craven has now won 25 straight ECC games.
Eastern Wayne scored first and kept West Craven off the scoreboard until halfway through the third quarter, when a pair of touchdowns from Larry Tyler and Charles Morgan put West Craven ahead. It set up Eastern Wayne for a nail-biting fourth quarter.
Eastern Wayne started the final drive of the game on the Eagle 26 with nearly nine minutes left. They gained five first downs, helped by a pair of spectacular passes from Tyler Ham to Riley Wilkins that brought them within three yards of the win.
Al Graham was a home crowd favorite; the dependable running back carried the ball 114 yards and scored the Warriors touchdown. Riley Wilkins showed his versatility with a 38.4-yard punting average and 46 receiving yards, catching half of the game's six completions.
West Craven's leading rusher was Charles Morgan with 118 yards on 15 carries, including a touchdown run. Jermaine Moore was also a West Craven stalwart, rushing 76 yards on 12 plays.
It was a vastly different picture from a year ago, when the match-up ended with a 62-0 West Craven win.
The difference, emphasized Price, is attitude.
"We have a great bunch of players with big heart, and they lay it out on the field every Friday night," he said. "They are winners. Our players expected to win. Their expectations were so high.
"There are a lot of tears falling now, because they knew they had it. They knew it was a game they could win."
For coach Clay Jordan of West Craven, the expectation of a win was the same, but the route getting there was harder than usual.
"We didn't play real great, but I think Eastern Wayne had a lot to do with that," he said. "They gave a great effort. I know their kids are disappointed, but I think they can be proud in their effort."
Jordan said his team suffered Friday without a handful of his top players, including one who was injured on Tuesday.
"We had to piece things together, and it shows," he said, adding that even beyond his thinning ranks his team was up against a lot.
"We had everything in the world to fight tonight," he said. "We had our adversities that happened on our team, and then a road game -- against a good team -- our team really showed a lot of character at the end. I really thought they always believed they were going to win."
Eastern Wayne will take the week off, then take on county rival Goldsboro Oct. 15 at the Cougar Den.
West Craven 0 0 12 0 -- 12
Eastern Wayne 7 0 0 0 -- 7
EW -- Graham 7 run (Stackhouse kick) 0:13
WC -- Tyler 2 run (kick failed) 7:33
WC -- Morgan 4 run (2 pt failed) 3:22
First downs 12 11
Rushes-yds 34-94 37-227
Pass yds 58 6
Total yds 152 233
Comp-att-int 5-18-1 1-8-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yds 6-43 6-60
Punts 5-38.4 2-56
RUSHING -- Eastern Wayne -- Al Graham 28-114, TD; Tyler Ham 3-(-7); Zach Williams 3-(-13). West Craven -- Jermaine Moore 12-76; Charles Morgan 15-118, TD; Larry Tyler 2-9, TD; Torian King 5-23; John Switzer 3-1.
PASSING -- Eastern Wayne -- Tyler Ham 2-8-1-30, Zach Wiliams 3-10-0-28. West Craven -- John Switzer 1-8-1-6.
RECEIVING -- Eastern Wayne -- Taylor Jackson 2-12, Riley Wilkins 3-46. West Craven -- Jeremy Davis 1-6.
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