Eastern Wayne defense intercepts Aycock at Little Big Horn
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 31, 2006 1:48 PM
Charles B. Aycock limited Eastern Wayne's big-play capability for one half Monday evening, but couldn't complete the task when it counted the most in the fourth quarter.
The Warrior defense harassed Golden Falcon quarterback Thomas Pilkington into three fourth-quarter interceptions -- and four overall -- in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference affair. The last two proved especially fatal on Halloween eve at Little Big Horn.
Eastern Wayne capitalized on its guests' hospitality and seized a come-from-behind 21-14 victory. The Warriors (6-4 overall, 2-2 ECC) treated head coach Jeff Price to his first conquest of C.B. Aycock in four tries.
The Golden Falcons (7-3) endured their third defeat in their last five outings and dropped to 2-2 in the league. The loss allowed Wilson Hunt to claim a share of its second consecutive ECC championship.
Aycock controlled the time of possession in the opening half, but held a precarious 7-0 lead at halftime. Pilkington engineered the lone touchdown drive -- an eight-minute, 17-play possession that ended with his 1-yard plunge early in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Eastern Wayne managed just one first down and failed on all three third-down conversion attempts. The Warriors collected a meager 43 yards on just 14 offensive plays.
"We challenged our players at halftime that you can give a lot more than what you're giving," said Price. "We found a little bit more offense in the second half and I think the defense turned it up a notch in the second half, too, because we forced a lot more 3-and-outs."
A partially-blocked punt inside Aycock's red zone set up the Warriors' first score. Two plays netted minus-7 yards and on third down, quarterback David White fired a pass to Dwight Ulmer near the sideline. Ulmer and Golden Falcon corner Montez Ham leapt for the ball at the same time, and Ham wrestled it from him as both players landed out of bounds.
Price called the same play again. White and Ulmer connected on a 25-yard strike, but Aycock blocked the PAT to preserve a 7-6 advantage.
"I put my best corner over there and he gives up that play," said Golden Falcons coach Randy Pinkowski. "That's the nature of high school football. We're not the biggest and most-physical team in the world.
"The longer we have to hang around in a bigger, physical football game, the tougher it gets on us from preventing the big play."
Aycock's next seven possessions resulted in two punts, three interceptions, one touchdown and an incomplete pass in the end zone as time expired. The Golden Falcons accumulated just 21 yards rushing in the second half and 67 for the game on 37 carries.
"They played great defense all night ... the first half and second half ... didn't make any difference," said Pinkowski. "They were just whipping us up front. When their seven up front is beating your seven up front, it makes for a tough night.
"We went to throwing the ball, but Thomas wasn't particularly sharp and they stepped in front of a couple."
Linebacker Nolan Lancaster intercepted Pilkington on the next series after Ulmer's touchdown grab, and it appeared the Warriors would come up empty. Dustin Smith misfired on his second field goal attempt of the night, but Eastern Wayne received a reprieve when Aycock committed a roughing-the-kicker penalty.
One play later, Kendrick Best scampered 4 yards for the touchdown. White and Ulmer hooked up for the two-point conversion to create a 14-14 deadlock.
Ulmer provided the next big play defensively.
Pilkington faced a third-and-8 situation at the Aycock 32 and stayed in the pocket. He fired a pass into an open area covered by nothing but dark blue jerseys and Ulmer intercepted the ball. The junior defensive back returned it to the Golden Falcon 10.
"I played my responsibility and knew the ball was coming to me," said a grinning Ulmer. "I got my pick I was waiting for."
Best posted his second touchdown, and seventh of the season, three plays later. Smith's PAT gave the Warriors a 21-7 lead.
Pilkington needed just 51 seconds to pull Aycock within 21-14 on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ham. Eastern Wayne turned the ball over on downs with 1 second remaining, but Pilkington's final pass got knocked away in the end zone as the clock hit triple zeroes.
"When we're down, we do better in the second half and it's been like that the whole season," said Ulmer. "When we see the other team get down, we take advantage of it like we did tonight.
"They were tired, we hit them in the mouth. They gave us the ball and we made good plays."
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