ELIZABETHTOWN — Xavier Wooten rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns, and the East Bladen defense never let visiting North Brunswick get closer than the Eagles’ 32 en route to a 34-0 non-conference whitewashing on Monday.
East Bladen improves to 2-0 on the season with its Three Rivers Conference opener at Whiteville looming on Friday.
After holding the Scorpions to a three-and-out to open the game. the Eagles went on a time-consuming, 17-play drive that covered 64 yards — highlighted by a 13-yard run by Wooten, 14-yard run by James Higgins and two fourth-down conversion. The second conversion came on the 17th play, a 5-yard touchdown pass from Quinton Bedsole to Trevares Carter with 22 seconds left in the first quarter. Pierce Melvin booted the PAT to give East Bladen a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles once again held North Brunswick down and featured a sack for a 5-yard loss by Dayveon Washington.
East Bladen, starting from its own 32, began moving again. Wooten ripped off 13 yards and added 10 more moments later; Xavia McDowll carried for 16 yards on a run that carried five Scorpions with him for the final 8 yards; but, on a fourth-and-goal from the 6, the drive stalled on an incomplete pass.
North Brunswick couldn’t generate anything, moving only 2 yards in three plays before a 44-yard punt — returned 22 yards by Shy Pone — gave East Bladen possession at the Scorpions’ 30.
From there, the Eagles needed just six plays to find the end zone — with Wooten getting in on a 3-yard run with just eight seconds left in the half. The point after was botched on a bad hold, but East Bladen took a 13-0 lead into intermission.
“We had way too many mental mistakes out there,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said. “We should score every time we have the ball.”
Three out of four isn’t bad, which is what the Eagles did in the second half.
East Bladen got the ball to open the half and, starting from its own 27, used seven plays to march 73 yards — the big play coming on a 48-yard touchdown run by Wooten with 8:18 left in the third quarter. Melvin added the extra pint to give East Bladen a 20-0 lead.
The Scorpions moved the ball into East Bladen territory at the 36, but could go no further and turned the ball over on downs.
The Eagles used 11 plays to quickly move to the North Brunswick 22, but a fourth-and-8 pass fell silent to snuff out the drive. It would be the home team’s lone unsuccessful second-half possession.
Nothing went right for the Scorpions on their next possession. Caleb Strait blew up a run in the backfield, a pass went errant and a run netted just 3 yards. The North Brunswick punt traveled 45 yards, but Sincere Smith returned it 31 yards and gave the Eagles possession at the Scorpions’ 34.
East Bladen needed just seven plays to move the 34 yards, with Wooten getting his hat trick from 7 yards out. Melvin’s kick was good and gave the Eagles a 27-0 lead with 8:54 left in the game.
North Brunswick started at its own 40 but went backwards, losing 10 yards on a run and saw two passes fall incomplete. A 43-yard punt set the Eagles up at their own 33 after a penalty during the kick moved them back 10 yards.
Bernard Robinson started the drive with a 13-yard run, Eric Chancey had a 9-yard run and Smith finished things off on a broken play, racing around the left side for a 20-yard touchdown run. Melvin kicked the point after to put the Eagles’ lead at 34-0 with 2:28 left in the game.
North Brunswick managed to move the ball from its own 40 to the East Bladen 33 before the buzzer sounded.
“I like how we came out in the second half — we got rid of some of that mental stuff,” Priest said. “But there’s still room for growth.”
In all, the Eagles gained 371 yards on the ground and, through the air, Bedsole was 2-for-4 for 15 yards.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.