08/27/06 — Game of the week -- Eastern Wayne grinds out season-opening win

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Game of the week -- Eastern Wayne grinds out season-opening win

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on August 27, 2006 2:18 AM

Andrew Blevins was crouched over, hands on his knees, staring at the same Cougar Stadium turf that stained his previously white No. 4 Eastern Wayne jersey.

He was beat and beat up, having taken the ball up the gut 12 of the Warriors' last 13 offensive plays in the fourth quarter. But when he heard the play call, his eyes lit up -- again.

Blevins ran for a game-high 107 yards on 22 carries and scored a third-quarter touchdown as visiting Eastern Wayne opened its 2006 season Friday night with a 14-0 shutout of Goldsboro.

Knowing a team's best defense is its offense, the Warriors ate up more than six minutes in the fourth quarter by handing the ball to their 5-foot-7, 172 pound fullback, who racked up 72 yards in the time-consuming drive.

"I like getting the ball, that's just the type of running back I am," Blevins said. "I like being a workhorse, we wanted to run the clock out there and that's what we were able to do."

Eastern Wayne didn't score on that possession, but thanks in part to a huge 32-yard burst by Blevins on a third-and-26 play, the Warriors gave Goldsboro the ball back on its own 3-yard line with just 2:10 left in the contest.

"We just wanted to keep pounding it, run the clock and hope (Blevins) could break one, which he finally did off the left side," Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price said. "We found a little rhythm there and got it going. We didn't score that time, but we didn't give them much time to do anything, either."

Goldsboro (0-2) actually outgained its crosstown rivals 183-146, but five turnovers and 83 yards in penalties didn't help against a fired-up Eastern Wayne defense.

"Our defense played well," Goldsboro coach Maurice Jackson said. "Last week against Rocky Mount (in a 40-24 loss), our defense didn't show up, and this week our offense kind of didn't show up. We just have to concentrate on getting them both playing well at the same time."

The Warriors (1-0) got on the scoreboard early as junior quarterback David White -- attempting just his third varsity pass -- threw a perfect strike to wide receiver Michael Mintz for a 37-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-11 play.

White, who was under heavy pressure from a Goldsboro blitz, lofted the ball toward Mintz, who was running a fly pattern.

The 5-foot-8, 156-pound junior wideout couldn't believe his eyes

"I was surprised, I looked up and it was right there, it was perfect," Mintz said. "David couldn't have thrown it any better. I just let it come to my hands and grabbed onto it."

Goldsboro, meanwhile, had trouble getting anything going early as Eastern Wayne defensive back Dwight Ulmer picked off a pair of Tim Kornegay passes in the first half.

Kornegay threw for 147 yards and three touchdowns against Rocky Mount the week before, but was 7-of-14 passing for 103 yards and three interceptions against Eastern Wayne. His favorite target, wide receiver Jamar Branch, had just three catches for 47 yards after hauling in five receptions for 140 yards and two TDs the week before.

The running game didn't fare much better as Eastern Wayne held junior running back Tremé Boone -- who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2005 -- to just 53 yards on 18 carries.

Through two games, Boone still hasn't reached 100 yards total, having run for just 23 yards on 10 attempts against Rocky Mount.

"We didn't want Tim Kornegay, Tremé Boone or Jamar Branch to go wild on us," Eastern Wayne defensive coordinator Brent Holland said. "We want to get pressure with our linebackers and front four and let our secondary contain Tim. I'm proud of the guys, they executed and came away with a big win."

After a 48-yard punt by Eastern Wayne's Michael Talton pinned Goldsboro at its own 6, Kornegay, in the shotgun, fumbled the ball away to Warriors defensive lineman Brandon Johnson.

Kornegay couldn't handle the snap, and the 5-foot-11, 235-pound Johnson scooped up the loose pigskin at the Goldsboro 1.

One play later, Blevins punched it in to give the Warriors a 14-0 advantage with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

"It's a huge win under our belt, it sets the pace for the rest of the season," Blevins said.

Eastern Wayne finished the game with nine penalties for 70 yards and had some difficulty moving the ball at times, but didn't commit a turnover.

"You know it's going to be an intense game," Price said. "At time, it looked like we were playing our first game of the season, and at times, we executed very well. Overall, we did enough to get the shutout, and if you can hold someone as capable as Goldsboro and keep them off the board, we're proud of that."

Eastern Wayne will play its first game at Little Big Horn this Friday against South Central, while Goldsboro plays its third consecutive home game of the season against Jones Senior.

Jackson said playing rivalry games against Eastern Wayne -- and later against Charles B. Aycock and Southern Wayne -- will only help the Cougars down the road.

"It's a great game to play," Jackson said. "Eastern Wayne's going to play us hard and we're going to play them hard and it helps both of us get ready for our conference."

NOTES: The Warriors, who finished 4-6-1 last year, have won the last three meetings against the Cougars by scores of 15-12 (2004), 26-0 (2005) and now 14-0. Goldsboro won the previous three meetings -- 18-12 (2001), 30-13 (2002) and 6-0 (2003). ... Eastern Wayne senior defensive back Corey Schley picked off a Kornegay pass with less than a minute left in the game and returned it to the Goldsboro 2. White kneeled the ball on the next play to run out the clock. ... In his first varsity start, White was 2-of-6 passing for 46 yards, but had minus-30 yards rushing ... Warriors senior kicker Dustin Smith, recruited from the Eastern Wayne soccer team, hit both of his extra-point attempts on Friday. Talton, who punted for the JV team a year ago, was effective -- at times. He had punts of 18, 51, 12, 48 and 28 yards. Goldsboro used three different punters.