Kinston gets first win against reeling Warriors
By David Miller
Published in Sports on November 6, 2005 2:26 AM
Kinston claimed its first win of the season with a 20-13 win over Eastern Wayne at the Little Big Horn on Friday night.
Michael Thompson's 1-yard plunge with 17 seconds remaining broke a 13-13 tie as the Vikings ended their season on a positive note with a 1-11 record overall and 1-4 mark in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference.
After a solid showing in non-conference play, the loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Warriors (4-6-1 overall). Eastern Wayne finished winless in the ECC with an 0-5 mark.
"Our chances to be seeded in the playoffs frankly do not look good," said Warriors head coach Jeff Price. "We needed some conference wins to get serious consideration from the selection committee."
He was right, the Warriors were left out of the playoffs when the pairings were announced.
Price pulled out all the stops going for the victory. After winning the toss and deferring, quarterback Tyler Ham crafted a 10-play drive, resulting in the game's first touchdown. Ham scored at 4:20 on a 1-yard sneak.
The key play in the drive was a behind-the-line pass from Ham to Riley Wilkins, who then found Andrew Blevins wide open for a 25-yard catch.
Kinston came right back. Quarterback Jamar Carraway -- playing for the first time at 100 percent after an early-season leg injury -- mixed his plays well. Passes to Thompson and to Terry Locust, set up a 1-yard run at 2:18 of the first quarter.
Eastern Wayne's defense slammed the door on their guests in the second quarter. The Vikings ran only 11 plays to their host's 17. Kendrick Best, David Ratliff and Nolan Lancaster, just up from the junior varsity, made big plays for the Warrior defense.
Mistakes began to hamper the Warriors' scoring chances.
Linemen Brandon Johnson, Michael Pitt, Michael McCall and Dion Nickerson opened gaping holes for Blevins and Travis Turner to run misdirection plays. Ham's passes to Wilkins and Clint Rouse got the ball to the Kinston 3, before a holding call brought the ball back.
Two subsequent passes to Wilkins in the end zone went incomplete, and valuable momentum seemed to evaporate on that series.
Eastern Wayne's Dwight Ulmer tied the game at 13 midway through the third quarter on a 62-yard inside screen -- set up by a Rouse block. The subsequent series ended on four fumbles and three penalties.
A roughing-the-passer penalty deep in Kinston territory permitted the Vikings' drive to continue on to their winning score.
Eastern Wayne got the ball back with 12 seconds left. A last minute Ham-to-Wilkins-to-Blevins flea-flicker pass came up short.
"You just can't make those kind and so many mistakes and expect to win," said Price. "The future, however, for us is bright. Although we'll be losing 12 key seniors, our feeder and weight programs are now in place. Look for these dividends to pay off next year."
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