ELIZABETHTOWN — Ethan Hines took Whiteville’s first punt back 82 yards for a touchdown, Eian Hines rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown and Mark Little’s East Bladen defense turned in a stellar performance on Friday en route to a 29-8 whipping of the visiting Wolfpack.
The win improves the Eagles to 2-0 and sent Whiteville home at 0-2 for the first time in years.
East Bladen held the Wolfpack to 3 yards on the opening possession and Ethan Hines gathered in the 30-yard punt at his own 18, zig-zagged to the right and outraced everyone to pay dirt. Jesus Ramos booted the extra point and the Eagles led 7-0 just 2:08 into the game.
Whiteville began its next possession at its own 49 after a squib kick and ran off nine plays to the East Bladen 14. But on second and 17. Nikita Owens stepped in front of a Wolfpack pass and took it out to the Eagles’ 28.
Eian Hines broke loose on run for 39 yards to the Whiteville 37 as part of a 13-play drive by East Bladen that also featured a 25-yard pass from Ty McMillian to Ethan Hines on a fourth-and-20 — a pass that the Eagles receiver out-jumped the Whiteville defender and took the ball away. Three plays later, Owens busted up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown with 10:23 left in the half. A penalty against the Wolfpack moved the ball to the 1, and Eian Hines ran in the two-point conversion for a 15-0 advantage.
Another squib kick gave Whiteville the ball at its own 45, but a fumble on the third play was recovered by Michael Walters at the East Bladen 43. From there, the Eagles overcame two offsides penalties with a 27-yard pass from McMillian to Zach Johnson and a 24-yard touchdown run by Ethan Hines with 6:42 left in the second quarter. Ramos added the point after to give East Bladen a 22-0 lead.
Whiteville fumbled on its third play from scrimmage once again, and Johnathan Melvin pounced on the ball for East Bladen at the Wolfpack 40. But the Eagles’ offense never got clicking and Whiteville held on a fourth-and-12.
Whiteville moved from its own 41 to the East Bladen 34, but things fizzled there and the Eagles ran out the clock for intermission.
East Bladen took the second half’s opening kickoff to its own 41 and, on the first play, Eian Hines broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown gallop just 22 seconds in. Ramos added the PAT and the Eagles went up 29-0.
The Wolfpack fell on a squib kick at their own 45 and started a nine-play drive that saw the visitors reach the East Bladen 10, but a 6-yard loss backed Whiteville up and Trevor Lloyd picked off a Wolfpack pass to stop the threat.
The Eagles ran off nine plays that ate up clock before turning the ball over on downs at the Whiteville 37. The Wolfpack moved the ball to the East Bladen 27 before Sincere Smith picked off a pass for the Eagles to end the threat.
After East Bladen moved 35 yards into Whiteville territory, the Eagles fumbled the ball away and the visitors put together their most productive possession. A 20-yard run on first down bested the Wolfpacks previous largest gains in the game — two 15-yard penalties against the Eagles — and three plays later another 20-yard run found the end zone. The pass for the two-point conversion was good and Whiteville was on the board with 2:50 left in the game.
East Bladen ran three plays and then took a knee to run out the clock.
“I thought the defense was lights out,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said. “The offense did just enough — like the leaping catch by 21. The playmakers made plays at crucial times.
“The offensive line made some pretty good blocks after halftime,” he added. “We wanted a shutout, but we have something to build on.”
Eian Hines led East Bladen’s ground game with 117 yards on 15 carries, while Ethan Hines rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries and caught a pass for 25 yards. Owens rushed for 42 yards on nine carries.
McMillian was 2-for-3 through the air for 52 yards. Johnson had the other catch for 27 yards.
East Bladen will travel to St. Pauls for a non-conference game on Friday.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.