10/01/06 — Game of the Week: Warriors KO Hawks

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Game of the Week: Warriors KO Hawks

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on October 1, 2006 2:17 AM

For Andrew Blevins, it was the greatest feeling in the world.

The senior running back ran for a career-high 245 yards and three touchdowns Friday as Eastern Wayne wore down visiting North Lenoir 36-22 in front of a standing-room-only crowd on homecoming night at Little Big Horn.

Eastern Wayne (4-2) trailed the Hawks (1-5) by a touchdown midway through the third quarter, but the Warriors came storming back by playing some smash-mouth football. With linemen Michael McCall, Dion Nickerson, Sean Cowick, Nathan James, Jonathan Smith and tight ends Eric Brofft and Corey Schley opening gaping holes, they handed the ball over and over to their 5-foot-7, 172-pound senior workhorse, who ran for 148 yards and touchdowns of 5 and 22 yards in the second half.

Dwight Ulmer added a 41-yard touchdown run late in the contest to seal the victory for the Warriors, who scored 22 unanswered points to finish the non-conference game.

"The line was giving me holes big enough to drive a truck through," said Blevins, who now has 758 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this season. "Man, they had a heck of a game, and for it to be homecoming, it's the greatest feeling in the world -- there's nothing equal to it."

Eastern Wayne's defense also kicked it up a notch in the second half as the Warriors held the Hawks to just 76 yards of total offense and no points in the final two quarters. After going 3-for-4 passing for 36 yards in the first half, North Lenoir quarterback Andrew Manning was harassed into a rough 1-of-7 through the air for 18 yards the rest of the way and was intercepted twice.

Overall, the Warriors outgained the Hawks 412-204.

"Eastern Wayne came out in the second half a lot more hungry than we were," North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson said. "In the second half, their offensive line came out and hit us in the mouth.

"There's not a whole lot of positives with 1-5. We've got to go back and try to improve, and put something together for conference."

The Warriors scored less than 30 second into the contest as quarterback David White found wide receiver Michael Mintz open for an 18-yard touchdown moments after North Lenior fumbled away the opening kickoff. White finished his night 6-of-13 passing for 93 yards and a TD.

After the Hawks went three-and-out on their next possession, Blevins broke off a 60-yard touchdown to give Eastern Wayne a 14-0 lead just 3:15 into the game.

North Lenoir, however, parlayed a safety, a 71-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown by Kenduall Thorbs and a pair of touchdown runs by Joe Newborn and Parris Lee into a 22-14 halftime lead. The Hawks stopped the home team on downs at the North Lenior 26 on the Warriors' first drive of the second half, but it was all downhill after that as Eastern Wayne scored on three of its last four drives of the night.

"In the second half, it all came down to mistakes," Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price said. "We minimized our mistakes -- the way we allowed them to score in the first half, they were freebies. The bonehead safety, we messed it up on the blocked kick and the fumble on the pitchout, and that put us in the hole after we went up 14-0.

"But we fought back in the second half and kept it simple and basic. Our offensive line did a super job -- I'm really proud of those guys up front because they gave (Blevins) lanes to run in and he made some great cuts."

NOTES: Eastern Wayne opens its conference schedule this Friday as the Warriors host the Southern Wayne Saints (4-2), who were idle Friday. North Lenior will play at Farmville Central (3-3) the same night in its Eastern Plains Conference 2-A opener. ... For Eastern Wayne, Kendrick Best and Midgette had second-half interceptions. Best returned his pick 88 yards for a touchdown, but the score was called back by a block in the back penalty. Midgette made a terrific one-handed catch on his interception in the fourth quarter after North Lenior had driven down to the Eastern Wayne 14 and trailed by just seven points at the time. ... Nick Williams led the Hawks with 62 yards rushing on nine carries and Lee added 46 yards and a TD on 13 hauls.