Wooten, Strait tabbed for All-Area team

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Accolades continue to pour in for the East Bladen High varsity football team, as running back Xavier Wooten and lineman Caleb Strait were recently named to the Wilmington StarNews All Area football team.

Wooten, a senior two-way player at both running back and linebacker, was tabbed for the StarNews’ first team on offense; Strait, also a two-way player on both the offensive and defensive line, was selected for the StarNews’ second team on offense.

Coach Robby Priest’s Eagles finished the 2017 campaign with a 12-2 record, including an 8-1 mark in the Three Rivers Conference that knotted them with South Columbus and Whiteville for the conference crown. East Bladen was given the No. 1 seed out of the conference for the Class 2-A East playoffs after a drawing.

Wooten, an All-Conference first-teamer, rushed for 1,841 yards and 29 touchdowns before his season was cut short early in the Eagles third-round playoff game by an injury. He saved his best performances for the playoffs, gaining 250 yards and scoring three touchdowns on 26 carries in a 39-33 win over James Kenan in the opening round; he then ran for 320 yards and six touchdowns on 28 carries in a dominant 68-28 win over Greene Central in the second round.

Strait, also an All-Conference first-teamer for the Eagles, was a stanchion along the line on both sides of the ball. His blocking prowess was rewarded with a spot on the North Carolina roster for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas — where he was a starter and helped lead the Tarheels to a 55-24 win over South Carolina.

The 270-pounder was also recently named to the NCPreps.com Class 2-A All-State squad.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or cvincent@bladenjournal.com.

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W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal