ROSE HILL — A day after Halloween, East Bladen got another monster game from running back Farrell Murchison en route to a 36-6 win over Union on Friday.
The Eagles reached the .500 mark with the victory, improving to 5-5 overall this season and 4-2 in the Four County Conference. The win also sets up a rare showdown with cross-county West Bladen on Friday — the winner of which will receive a guaranteed Class 2-A playoff spot, and the loser likely relegated to a wildcard invitation.
Union opened the game by shoving the ball down the Eagles collective throats, moving 59 yards on four plays. The Spartans’ star back, Dezmond Faison, took all four handoffs and rushed for the 59 yards — the final one a 50-yard gallop for a 6-0 lead. The point after was blocked by East Bladen’s Isaiah Young.
After stopping the Eagles, Union and Faison went to work again. Two handoffs to the running back gained 13 yards, but East Bladen’s defense stiffened from that pint on and never let Faison get back to the positive side of the ledger.
The Eagles forced a Union punt and the East Bladen offense took over from its own 20.
Murchison put together runs of 15 and 20 yards tat, coupled with a 16-yard scamper by Jaylan Herring, put the Eagles on the Union 5. Murchison took care of the rest, knotting the game at 6-6. Quarterback Ty McMillian hit Jaquan Jones with the two-point conversion pass to give East Bladen an 8-6 edge early in the second quarter.
The Spartans sputtered on their next possession and East Bladen took over at its own 45. Those 55 yards to the end zone needed just six plays — highlighted by a 27-yard run by Herring and Murchison’s 3-yard touchdown run. Jimmy Campbell took the two-point conversion handoff and busted across the goal line to give the Eagles a 16-6 lead midway through the quarter.
After holding Union once again, the Eagles wasted little time finding pay dirt. A handoff to Murchison saw the Eagles’ offensive line open a gaping hole and the running back raced 78 yards for the touchdown. McMillian found Jones with another pass for the two-point try and East Bladen opened a 24-6 lead, which is where things stood at halftime.
The Eagles threatened early in the second half, but bogged down deep in Union territory. The East Blade defense, however, continued to not bend, much less break, and the Spartans couldn’t execute a punt — giving the Eagles the ball at the Union 13.
Murchison needed just one touch of the ball to carry it the 13 yards for the lone touchdown of the third quarter. The conversion failed, but the Eagles’ lead had ballooned to 30-6.
In the fourth quarter, Mother nature became more of an opponent for East Bladen that the Spartans, as the rain became heavier as the clocked ticked away.
Still, the Eagles manufactured a 60-yard drive, sloshing 60 yards in eight plays and featuring a 15-yard run from Herring and a 13-yard run by Campbell that took the ball to the Union 17. From there, Nikita Owns busted two runs that covered the 17 yards and scored. East Bladen took a knee on the conversion to cap off the 36-6 win.
“The defense has played better and better over the past few games, and it’s showing,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said before the game. “We’re still a work in progress, but this is looking more like East Bladen football now.”
Murchison rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries for the Eagles, easily outdistancing Union’s Faison, who was held to just 65 yards on 19 carries. Herring contributed 110 yards on 13 carries for the Eagles.
Through the air, McMillian was 1-for-5 for 14 yards. That catch was made by Murchison.