Warriors pull away from Fike
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 10, 2006 2:21 AM
For the second straight game, Eastern Wayne's football team turned in an improved second half on their home field.
But unlike Monday's contest against South Central, the Warriors' perseverance resulted in a 27-13 win on Friday night against Wilson Fike.
Eastern Wayne's defense held the Golden Demons to just six first downs and one touchdown after halftime. Fike put it on the ground seven times and lost three fumbles overall, two of which led to Eastern Wayne's first-half touchdowns.
Driving midway through the fourth quarter with a chance to cut the Warriors' lead to six, the Demons fumbled again inside the Warrior 10.
"If they ever get that fixed (fumbles), God help who they have to play," Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price said. "Fumbles have been their Achilles heel all year. They've got a good offense, and their defense ain't bad either."
Eastern Wayne was efficient offensively -- losing just one turnover -- and consistently made big plays to answer the Demons through the non-conference game. Four Eastern Wayne rushers had 50 or more yards as Dwight Ulmer (2-79), Lamar Lamb (5-66), Andrew Blevins (18-55) and Kendrick Best (6-51) keyed the balanced attack.
Warrior quarterback David White added a 5-for-11 effort with one interception. Facing third down at the Fike 10 early in the fourth quarter, the senior signal-caller had a big 19-yard completion to Orlando Midgette. The timely pass preceded Ulmer's 71-yard sprint around the left side to push the score to the final margin. Ulmer's run answered a 10-play touchdown drive by Fike.
Midgette capped a 9-play, 4-minute drive by the Warriors with eight minutes left in the third with a 10-yard run to paydirt as Dustin Smith's kick made it 20-7. Three different rushers scored a touchdown for Eastern Wayne as Blevins got his team on the board with a short plunge midway through the first quarter.
Price was clearly pleased with the balance his offense displayed.
"We do have a wealth of different runners and different styles. We don't have to run any of them to death," he said. "We like having that luxury to do that this year. We may not have a guy get 150 or 200 yards every Friday, but we can spread it out and get them all involved."
Corey Jackson, who finished with 182 yards, carried most of the load for Fike with 150 yards on 15 carries in the first half. But turnovers haunted the Demons, whose losing streak reached 15 games on Friday.
Up 7-0 in the first quarter after a 3-and-out by the Warriors, the visitors fumbled away their second possession. Two minutes later, Eastern Wayne turned the miscue into its first score when Blevins crashed in from the two.
On their next drive, Fike's Gabriel Amply, who had two touchdown runs, was stripped by Lamb in the backfield. Lamb picked up the loose ball, then lateralled to his teammate, Ulmer, who ran the rest of the 35 yards to make it 13-7 after Smith's kick. Fike had one more golden opportunity to put points on the board before halftime, but Eastern Wayne's Doug Johnston blocked a 38-yard field goal try as the score stood 13-7 at the half.
The Demons finished with 205 yards rushing in the first half, but had just seven points to show for it.
"I think that we get in situations and we get the opportunity to make a play and we don't make a play for various reasons," Fike coach Richie Pridgen said. "There's no one thing ... you fumble the ball, you miss a block. It's just a letdown somewhere every time we get in a situation where we need the big play."
In the second half, the Warriors held Fike to 33 net rushing yards. Fike's lone score of the second half was aided by a short field when a snap sailed over the head of Eastern Wayne punter Eric Brofft late in the third quarter. Ten plays later, Amply raced in for a 7-yard touchdown to cut the Warrior lead to 20-13.
The Demons looked to have solved their turnover woes, until a fumble at the Warrior 6-yard line midway through the fourth stopped a scoring opportunity. Tim Warren and Nolan Lancaster each came up with big sacks of Fike quarterback, R.J. Branch, on the Demons' final possession.
Both teams return to action on Friday as Eastern Wayne travels to D.H. Conley (2-1), while the Demons host Charles B. Aycock (3-0).
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