09/05/06 — Eastern Wayne rally comes up short

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Eastern Wayne rally comes up short

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 5, 2006 2:05 PM

South Central's defense turned away Eastern Wayne in the final two minutes and the Falcons escaped 28-21 on a humid, rain-soaked Monday evening at Little Big Horn.

A fumbled snap on fourth down, which resulted in a 26-yard loss, set up the Warriors for the potential game-tying touchdown. But Eastern Wayne turned the ball over on downs when Falcon defensive back Tyrell Worthington knocked Warrior quarterback David White out of bounds on fourth down at the 2-yard line.

"We were trying to get to the post," said fourth-year Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price. "(David) jumped and bailed when he got pressured. Of course, now he's outside and everything is loaded on the (South Central) left side.

"He did the right thing, but (needed) to cut up quicker. If you keep dragging it out, you're not going to get there."

Worthington's touchdown-saving tackle preserved South Central's first-ever victory over the Warriors in four tries. Eastern Wayne dropped to 1-3 in home openers under Price and endured just its second non-conference defeat in its last eight outings.

The Warriors' near-miraculous comeback almost overshadowed a mistake-filled contest. False-start and offsides penalties, personnel issues and blown assignments proved costly in the 48-minute contest.

Eastern Wayne managed one score in three red-zone opportunities. South Central (1-1) stopped the Warriors on fourth-and-2 late in the second quarter and walked into halftime with a 14-0 lead. Price's team put together an 11-play drive and benefited from two defensive penalties during that stretch, but committed a costly delay-of-game infraction.

"Discipline, discipline, discipline," said Price, whose team was flagged 10 times for 65 yards in the opening half. "We were not disciplined on defense or offense. Guys have to know (their responsibilities)."

The Warriors pulled within 14-7 on Dwight Ulmer's 84-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. But Worthington answered with a 78-yard kickoff return push SouthCentral back ahead by two touchdowns.

"We gave the kicker instruction to kick away from 17 (Worthington), but that's where the ball went," said Price. "The ball has to go away from 17 because he's dangerous and that bit us in the butt.

"We didn't have a problem after that."

Eastern Wayne (1-1) moved into South Central territory on its final three possessions of the game. The Falcons' Josh Quinn recovered a fumble to stop one drive.

The Warriors' Andrew Blevins capped a 15-play, 89-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge late in third quarter. Blevins racked up 120 yards on 25 carries.

"The offensive line really did a super job in the second half and Andrew ran the ball much harder; got some confidence," said Price. "We were right there in the thick of it. You have to get the ball in the end zone."

South Central answered with a 63-yard touchdown drive that ended on Billy Walling's 19-yard, third-down scoring pass to Jeramy Tucker. Ulmer returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for the 28-21 finale.

The Falcons' next drive stalled at their own 44 when punter Michael Causey couldn't handle a snap that skidded on the wet turf. An unsportsmanlike conduct aided the Warriors, who took over at the South Central 9, but couldn't punch it in.

"Twice we're inside the 5-yard line and we belly up on fourth down," said Price. "It's either because of a personnel problem, not having the right personnel out there; a flag or a blown assignment.

"You just can't do that and you have take (advantage of) those opportunities. That's two scores we left out on the field tonight. (But) all the things that happened tonight are fixable ... correctable."