Southern Nash downed by Eastern Wayne
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 23, 2013 11:43 PM
Bubba Williams called on his defense to make a stop one more time.
Micah Smith answered the bell.
Smith intercepted Southern Nash quarterback Deon Lavender to seal the Warriors' 21-17 win on Friday night in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A (small-school) state playoffs.
Eastern Wayne (10-2) entertains Eastern Alamance (10-3) next Friday. The Warriors have won two playoff games in the same season for the first time in program history.
Eastern Wayne forced five Firebirds' turnovers. The Warriors recovered two Southern Nash fumbles and Terrell Downs and Jake Wiser each picked off a pass.
"That's big," said Williams, Eastern Wayne's head coach. "Micah played the ball well just over the top. Defensively, we played very well. I can't say enough about those guys and the assistant coaches getting them prepared and the things that they've done. I think our guys got a little bit more physical and we realized what they were doing."
The Firebirds also hurt their own cause by being penalized 19 times for 170 yards.
Southern Nash recovered an Eastern Wayne fumble on the opening kickoff. Five plays later, Richard Hall found the end zone from seven yards out.
The Warriors answered with a pair of touchdown passes from Mitch Pike. Pike bought time with his feet in the pocket and fired a 42 yard strike to Alex Davila in the final minute of the first quarter.
Pike rolled out and hit Dayshawn Pridgen in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line with fewer than five minutes to play in the first half to give Eastern Wayne a 15-8 lead. The junior quarterback finished 7 for 17 passing for 116 yards with one interception and two touchdowns.
"Dayshawn made a good catch and Alex made a good catch," Williams said. "We're going to need more next week from all those guys."
The Warriors had Wiser's 95-yard interception return for a touchdown called back just before halftime on a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Instead of enforcing the penalty on the kickoff or the extra point, the touchdown was taken off the board.
"They said it was an unsportsmanlike which is a dead ball foul," Williams said. "They tried to say it was a live ball foul. According to a couple of officials there is no live ball unsportsmanlike in high school."
After being held scoreless since early in the game, the Firebirds' offense struck again. Lavender broke free for a 55-yard touchdown run early in the second half that tied the game at 15-15.
Midway through the third quarter, Pike attempted to use his feet once again to buy time for his receivers to get open but it backfired. Pike was tackled in the end zone for a safety as Southern Nash took the lead at 17-15.
Eastern Wayne took advantage of some good field position late in the third quarter after Southern Nash bobbled the snap on a punt attempt. KK Best's 17-yard touchdown run gave the Warriors the lead for good at 21-17. Eastern Wayne won despite being outgained 339-221.
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