10/26/13 — Eastern Wayne defense does its job against DHC

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Eastern Wayne defense does its job against DHC

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 26, 2013 11:40 PM


Minus its leading receiver and its fullback against its third straight 4-A opponent, Eastern Wayne had to lean heavily on its defense Friday night.

The Warriors weren't disappointed.

Eastern Wayne forced three turnovers and a safety in its 31-26 win over Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference foe D.H. Conley. The Warriors recovered a pair of fumbles, intercepted a pass and stopped the Vikings twice on fourth down.

The Warriors went on a march midway through the second quarter and Dayshawn Pridgen hauled in Mitch Pike's screen pass and raced 45 yards to the end zone. Ricky Steiner's two-point conversion put Eastern Wayne ahead 8-0.

Conley began to find some rhythm in its wing-T spread offense. Jamari Cooke's 39-yard run led to his 10-yard score. The two-point conversion attempted failed and the Warriors led 8-6.

The Vikings fumbled on their first possession of the second half deep their own territory. Eastern Wayne (6-2 overall, 2-2 ECC) cashed in the turnover on Kamone Best's 17-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 15-6 with nine minutes to play in the third quarter.

"When the moment got big our defense stood tall," Warriors' head coach Bubba Williams said. "That's what we've got to continue to have."

The Vikings (7-2, 3-1) answered with a scoring drive of their own. Austin Hill's 36-yard run set up Cooke's 13-yard score that cut the deficit to 15-13 midway through the third quarter.

After Pridgen intercepted Conley quarterback Drew Buck, Pike tossed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Lavoris Vick that stretched the Warriors' lead to 22-13.

Conley needed fewer than two minutes to drive 74 yards as the Vikings continued to find running room. Miles Taylor's 13-yard score trimmed the margin to 22-19.

Eastern Wayne's defense reared its ahead again with fewer than five minutes to play as Derius Evans tackled Beck in the end zone for a safety.

"That safety was huge," Williams said. "We also made our extra points tonight which was also huge. We haven't made them in the past and Colton (Jones) put them through tonight."

Best's 26-yard touchdown run with fewer than four minutes to play gave the Warriors some needed breathing room at 31-19. The sophomore lead Eastern Wayne with 91 yards on 13 carries.

Conley didn't go quietly and Hill's 4-yard score pulled the Vikings to within 31-26 with 1:52 left. Eastern Wayne recovered the onside kick and converted a pivotal third-and-five play to run out the clock.