CERRO GORDO — East Bladen won its second straight in the Three Rivers Conference football race Friday night, whipping West Columbus 48-14.
The Eagles of seventh-year head coach Robby Priest, idle because of Hurriance Florence since a pivotal home win over Whiteville on Sept. 7, led 27-0 at intermission and got three touchdown passes from Zach Meares. Shy Pone caught two and Tayshaun Berkeley got the other.
East Bladen got touchdown runs from Lawson Hester, ReSean McKoy and Zaquis Leach and an Eric Chancy interception return score.
“About like what I thought — we looked good in the first half, got tired and uninterested in the second half, or at least that’s the way it came across,” Priest said. “They played hard but we were out of shape. That layoff hurt as far as the conditioning part.”
The Eagles grinded away for 340 yards, with 12 backs carrying no more than a handful of times save for Eric Chancy’s nine for 81 yards and Orlando Murchison’s six for 33 yards.
Meares was efficient quarterbacking the guests, going 9-for-10 for 140 yards. “He played good,” Priest said.
Junior kicker Gabe Barber, who played two soccer games between Thursday night and Friday afternoon prior to the game, kicked an extra point right-footed and three left-footed, Priest said.
East Bladen’s defense was stout throughout most of the night.
“They played great,” the coach said. “They put up a shutout in the first half, kind of set the tone. We had a pick-six for a touchdown, and Lawson was able to snatch a ball out of a boy’s hand. As long as we get turnovers, and can score with our defense, that helps our offense and the morale of the team. One mouth feeds the other I guess.”
The day before the game, the league’s athletics directors decided the football games postponed Sept. 14 would be played on the extra date, Nov. 9, given by the state association to complete regular season. The playoffs won’t begin unti the following week, Nov. 16.
That set-up means league preseason co-favorites South Columbus and Whiteville tangle Nov. 2, and East Bladen now meets South Columbus Nov. 9.
Priest said the Eagles would play their other postponed game, at home with Red Springs, on a Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.