West Craven turns back Southern Wayne
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on August 19, 2007 2:05 AM
DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne couldn't handle the butterflies associated with season-opening games Friday evening.
Two second-half turnovers further compounded the Saints' troubles, which started with first-quarter injuries to two key skill players -- quarterback Jordan Williams and running back John Futrell.
Fatigue, turnovers (five combined) and penalties (23) factored into the outcome. The Eagles, however, benefited the most from their guests' misfortune and prevailed 21-6 at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.
"A lot of mistakes, penalties and turnovers," said Southern Wayne coach Bob Warren. "We're a ball-control offense. We need to be consistent and not turn the ball over or commit penalties."
But even Warren couldn't anticipate the opening-quarter strains his team experienced. Williams exited after the second offensive series with a hyper-extended knee and was transported to the hospital. Futrell suffered an ankle injury that kept him sidelined the rest of the game.
The humid, sweltering conditions also induced fatigue. Already lacking depth, the Saints' vulnerability surfaced as the game progressed.
"The heat played a big factor in this game," said Warren. "Both sides had to fight the heat. Right now, once we get past our first group, we're having to work with these youngsters who are forced into the game to learn their position quickly."
Southern Wayne started out in dominant fashion.
The backfield tandem of bruising fullback Kelvin Flow and speedy halfback Tristan Bass reaked havoc with the Eagles' defense on the game's opening possession. Flow bowled his way over defenders, while Bass used agile frame to side-step tacklers and sprint into the open field.
Flow capped the Saints' lone scoring drive with a 3-yard plunge. He finished with 124 yards on 23 carries, while Bass contributed 87 yards on 14 tries.
West Craven answered with one second remaining in the opening half. Brett Mooring fired a 3-yard scoring strike to Jimmy Gross, and the Eagles converted the PAT to lead 7-6 at intermission.
The mental errors and turnovers caught up with the Saints in the third quarter. Kendrick Thompson recovered the Eagles' fumble on the opening kickoff and backup quarterback Tyler Edwards marched his team into West Craven's red zone.
Working from the Eagles' 15-yard line, Edwards got tripped up by an offensive lineman and fumbled. Jacquan Crouell recovered the fumble for West Craven and the Saints never crept closer than West Craven's 39-yard line from that point.
Southern Wayne's defense kept the game tight. Mooring, a gun-slinging quarterback, misfired on 13 of his first 14 attempts of the second half. Thompson picked off Mooring during that stretch.
"I was really pleased with the defense tonight," said Warren. "I thought they played well. We just made too many mistakes after we got tired."
Denied any success through its passing game, West Craven turned to the ground game in the final quarterback. Marc Lewis punished the tired Saints defense with big gains as the Eagles moved to the Southern Wayne 1. Mooring plunged through the line for the touchdown on the next play.
Three plays later, the Saints obliged their guests with another turnover. Lewis cashed in from 5 yards out to complete the scoring.
"We're going to work to get better," said Warren. "We've just got to find some people that are going to step it up next time."
Southern Wayne (0-1 overall) visits Wallace-Rose Hill next Friday. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Thell B. Overman Field.
West Craven 0 7 0 14 -- 21
Southern Wayne 6 0 0 0 -- 6
SW -- Flow 3 yard run (kick failed)
WC -- Gross 3 yard pass from Mooring (Murphy kick)
WC -- Mooring 1 yard run (Murphy kick)
WC -- Lewis 5 yard run (Murphy kick)
West Craven Southern Wayne
First downs 20 15
Rushes-yds 32-164 47-242
Passing yds 163 22
Total yards 327 264
A-C-I 36-16-1 7-2-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2
Penalties-yds 12-105 11-96
RUSHING -- West Craven -- Marc Lewis 23-143, TD; Brett Mooring 6-20, TD; Michael Jones 3-1. Southern Wayne -- Kelvin Flow 23-124, TD; Tristan Bass 14-87; John Futrell 1-20; Kendrick Thompson 1-4; Jordan Williams 1-(-11); Tyler Edwards 2-(-1); Corey Baker 3-19; Desmond Raiford 1-1; James Jones 1-(-1).
PASSING -- West Craven -- Brett Mooring 16-36-1 163, TD. Southern Wayne -- Jordan Williams 1-1-0 7; Tyler Edwards 1-6-0 15.
RECEIVING -- West Craven -- Jimmy Gross 7-63, TD; Serge McMillen 3-20; Ryan Murphy 4-48; Erik Highsmith 1-12; Chris Ipock 1-20. Southern Wayne -- Jeff Fields 1-7; Scott Holloman 1-8.
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