ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen scored on its first five possessions and the Three Rivers Conference’s stingiest defense allowed negative yards to visiting West Columbus en route to a 47-0 win.
The Eagles improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference, while the Vikings fell to 0-6, 0-4.
West Columbus took the opening kickoff and moved just 4 yards before a punt went backwards 3 yards and set East Bladen up on the Vikings’ 41. From there, Xavia McDowell ran 7 yards and Xavier Wooten ran 30 yards before finishing the march with a 4-yard touchdown run. Pierce Melvin’sPAT gave East Bladen a 7-0 edge with 9:08 left in the first quarter.
Tayshaun Berkeley recovered a fumble for the Eagles on the kickoff at the West Columbus 39, and the Eagles needed just four plays to find the end zone. Highlighted by a 20-yard pass and run from quarterback Sincere Smith to McDowell and a 10-yard run by Trevores Cater, the drive was finalized by a 9-yard touchdown run from Wooten. Pierce’sextra point put the Eagles up 14-0 with 6:55 left in the quarter.
West Columbus took possession at its own 20 and went nowhere — and a punt went barely to the line of scrimmage, giving East Bladen possession at the Vikings’ 19. Eric Chancy ran 12 yards on the first play and covered the final 7 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Melvin’s point after gave the Eagles a 21-0 advantage with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings began their next possession at their own 19 and again went nowhere. This time the ensuing punt went 14 yards, giving East Bladen possession at the West Columbus 32.
Josh McKoy rushed for 29 yards and McDowell finished things off with a 3-yard touchdown run. Melvin’s kick was good and the Eagles’ lead was 28-0 with 1:47 left in the period.
West Columbus, starting at its own 30, moved backwards 9 yards on three plays and the punt went 19 yards — gathered in by Smith and returned for a score. But a penalty brought the ball back to the Vikings’ 41. After a 22-yard run by McDowell that dragged a handful of Vikings with him, East Bladen found pay dirt early in the second quarter. Melvin’s kick gave East Bladen a 35-0 lead with 7:59 left in the half.
The Vikings fumbled on their first play and East Bladen’s Tyvon Townsend fell on the ball at the West Columbus 25. The Eagles then shot themselves in the foot with two holding penalties and Melvin was brought in for a 45-yard field goal try — which came up short.
West Columbus then ran out the first-half clock and went into halftime trailing 35-0.
With a running clock, the Eagles opened the second half with Smith taking the kickoff at his own 33 and zig-zagging 67 yards for a touchdown. The point after was blocked, but East Bladen went up 41-0 just 13 seconds into the third quarter.
West Columbus, starting at its own 32, managed to move to the 49 thanks to a big Eagles penalty, but still had to punt.
East Bladen started at its own 44 and went on a 11-play, 56-yard march that straddled the third and fourth quarters — highlighted by a 24-yard and 22-yard run by James Higgins — and Devonta McIver completed the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Eagles took a knee on the extra point and held a 47-0 lead with 7:38 left to play.
The Vikings got their biggest play on the first handoff of their final possession, a 12-yard gain, but couldn’t move out of their end of the field before the game ended.
“Three good things about this game: we won, nobody got hurt and everybody played,” said East Bladen coach Robby Priest.
East Bladen outgained the Vikings by a 274-negative-4 yards, but also gave the visitors 100 yards on penalties.
Higgins led the Eagles’ ground game with 52 yards on three carries, followed by Wooten with 48 yards on four carries and McDowell with 34 yards on four carries. Smith was 1-for-1 through the air for 20 yards, a pass caught by McDowell.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.