Eagles upend Warriors
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 22, 2009 1:47 PM
Defending eastern 3-A champion West Craven flexed its muscle, displayed its athleticism and relied on experience Monday evening.
Short-handed Eastern Wayne continued to seek an identity.
The Eagles scored on seven of 11 possessions, added a 90-yard kickoff touchdown return and rolled to a 56-19, non-conference victory at Little Big Horn. West Craven claimed its 22nd victory in 25 tries against Wayne County opposition since 2001.
"West Craven has got some good athletes," said Warriors coach Bubba Williams. "They've got (experienced) seniors in different positions that were attacking our (inexperienced) juniors in different positions. We have five total who played varsity football last year and they've got 20 or 25.
"That's part of the make-up, too."
Eastern Wayne (0-5 overall) missed two starters -- Dahomeny Murchison and Zach Myers -- to the flu. Rashawn Barnes stood on the sidelines in street clothes and is expected to undergo another MRI on his knee today.
Nearly half of the team missed practice last week due to seasonal flu, which prompted school officials to postpone the contest for three days.
"It is what it is," said Williams of the off-field adversity.
West Craven (3-1) forced a three-and-out on Eastern Wayne's first offensive series of the game. Five plays later, senior quarterback Justin Hardy hooked up with Ryan Murphy on a 17-yard touchdown pass.
The Warriors responded.
Starting at the 15-yard line, quarterback Jalen Barnes directed an error-free series. His 58-yard touchdown strike to Will White capped the seven-play possession and forced a 7-7 tie.
It was the first of two 80-yard scoring drives for the Warriors.
"We're showing a little bit of character at times," said Williams. "We moved the ball better offensively and blocked a little better on the offensive line. They're gelling and developing."
Eastern Wayne compiled 280 yards of total offense, including a season-best 161 yards in the opening half. Lamar Best emerged the Warriors' top rusher with 86 yards and two touchdowns on 20 totes, while Azaveus Dickens contributed 72 yards on 16 carries.
Barnes and Best combined for 83 yards passing.
West Craven tacked on two second-quarter touchdowns and converted three of five possessions into second-half scores. Three Warrior miscues -- two interceptions, one fumble -- aided the visitors' season-high offensive surge.
"It's a slow transition to building a program and these seniors are playing a huge role," said Williams. "It's bad that they're not getting some of the rewards they deserve right now. I think that's going to come and I hope it does for them."