By: W. Curt Vincent -

DUBLIN — After a 90-minute rain and lightning delay on Friday, it was evident right from the start which team — West Bladen or visiting Whiteville — was least and most affected.

Murphy’s Law joined the Knights roster, contributing to four first-half fumbles that helped Whiteville to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a 35-6 non-conference win. It also kept the Wolfpack’s all-time record against West Bladen unblemished at 20-0.

It was far from what West Bladen coach Russell Dove expected.

“Anything that could go wrong (in the first half), did,” Dove said. “But I know the kind of kids we’ve got.They’ll bounce back from this.”

The Wolfpack was given three gift fumbles in the first quarter, and turned each one of them into a touchdown.

The first came when West Bladen coughed up a punt and gave Whiteville the ball at the Knights’ 27. It took just two plays for a 27-yard touchdown pass. And just to show whose night it was, a botched snap on the extra point was turned into two-point conversion pass to give the visitors an 8-0 lead.

When the Knights finally took possession of the ball, another fumble bounced into the hands of a Wolfpack defender and returned 35 yards for a touchdown. The point after gave Whiteville a 15-0 edge.

After stopping the Knights on their next possession, Whiteville’s possession was thwarted by an interception by West’s Luis Ramirez, who took the ball back to the Whiteville 17. But the Knights couldn’t take advantage. A fumble near the goal line gave the Wolfpack the ball at their own 3.

On the first play, the Whiteville quarterback ran a draw and raced 97 yards almost untouched for a touchdown. The extra point snap was again mishandled, but just like the first time, a two-point pass was good to give the Wolfpack a 23-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The lead got padded in the second quarter when Whiteville scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and took a 35-0 advantage into intermission.

Fresh from getting an earful from coaches at halftime, the Knights took the second half’s opening kickoff and … fumbled near midfield. The West Bladen defense stepped up and stopped the Wolfpack, but the offense never could find its stride.

West Bladen averted the whitewashing, with a little help from the Wolfpack, when quarterback Stefon McDonald strode into the end zone on the game’s final play from the 1 yard line.

B.J. Drake led West Bladen with 93 yards on 11 carries, while Malique McDowell had 89 yard on 17 carries.

The Knights, now 2-1, will host St. Paul’s on Friday in the final non-conference game. Whiteville, now 1-2, will host West Brunswick on Friday.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

Whiteville takes advantage of West Bladen miscues for 35-6 win

W. Curt Vincent