By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 4, 2005 2:14 AM
By TONY CASTLEBERRY
Courtesy of The Daily Reflector
WINTERVILLE -- Eastern Wayne scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half Friday night as the Warriors improved to 2-0 with a 28-21 victory at South Central.
Warriors fullback Al Graham -- who scored three times against Goldsboro in Week 1 -- ran for two more scores against the Falcons and Kendrick Best brought back a kickoff 78 yards for a TD to spark the second-half rally.
The home team outgained Eastern Wayne 227-135 on the night, but the Warriors recovered three South Central fumbles and came up with several big plays to escape with the win.
"We were tired, but we hung in there. Every time we play South Central, it's a close game," said Warriors coach Jeff Price as Eastern Wayne improved to 3-0 against the Falcons. "We've been playing them for three years now. It's shaping up to be quite a contest."
The Falcons, coming off a dramatic season-opening victory over Farmville Central last Friday, seemed to take control early in the second half when Tyrell Worthington returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 South Central lead with 10 minutes and 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Eastern Wayne, SC's former Eastern Carolina Conference foe, erased the home team's momentum on the very next play when Best returned the kickoff 78 yards for a score to tie it 14-all at the 10:07 mark.
"That kills you because our kickoff team has done so well this year on keeping people pinned inside the 30," Falcon coach Kemp Ewing said. "It seemed like on that one they all ran down to the 30 yard line and stopped, waiting for somebody else to make a tackle. Our guys have got to understand, I've got to have all 11 down on the ball, not just one or two."
Later in the quarter, a costly South Central turnover set the Warriors up deep in Falcon territory. SC punter Blaine Kinsley couldn't handle the snap and Eastern Wayne's Adrian Black recovered on the Falcon 5.
South Central's defense eventually forced a fourth-and-goal, but the bruising Graham plunged in from just inches away from the goal line to put the Warriors up for good, 21-14, with 2:48 to go in the third.
The Falcons (1-1) lost fumbles on their first two fourth-quarter possessions and the second turnover resulted in an Eastern Wayne score. Dwight Ulmer broke a couple of tackles en route to a 33-yard TD scamper and the Warriors (2-0) led 28-14 with 1:14 left to play.
Graham led the way for Eastern Wayne, piling up 69 rushing yards and scoring two TDs while Ulmer finished with 45 rushing yards and a score.
Price was more than happy to hand the ball to Graham time and time again as the game wore on and the big back wore SC's defense down.
"That takes some pressure off other areas," Price said. "You just adjust to what the defense is giving you and hope that you make the right adjustments."
Eastern Wayne travels to Wilson Fike this Friday while South Central plays at Bertie.
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