Miscues cost East Bladen in 31-7 loss to Laney

WILMINGTON — Laney High scored 24 unanswered points to break open a 7-7 deadlock and went on to hand visiting East Bladen a 31-7 non-conference loss on Friday.

The Eagles completed their non-conference schedule at 2-2 and will host Midway on Friday in the Four County Conference opener.

The Buccaneers got on the board first with a first-quarter touchdown that came on Laney’s first possession. Starting at their own 20, the Bucs used a 10-play drive to finish in the end zone 3:48 into the game. The extra point gave Laney a 7-0 lead.

An on-side kick went awry and gave East Bladen the ball at the Bucs’ 47. B.J. Robinson toted the ball 18 yards and three more plays got the Eagles to the Laney 21, but the drive fizzled there.

The Buccaneers marched 61 yards in 14 plays and faced a fourth down at the Eagles’ 14, but a field goal try flew past the upright on the wrong side.

East Bladen put together a 59-yard scoring drive in the second quarter that featured an 11-yard run by Robinson and runs of 19 yards and 12 yards by Ethan Hines — and culminated with a 16-yard touchdown run by Hines. Pierce Melvin booted the PAT to knot the game at 7-7 with 1:52 left to play in the half.

Laney responded with a 59-yard drive of its own that took just 1:27, finishing with a touchdown and point after to take a 14-7 edge. The Bucs then squibbed an on-side kick that East Bladen mishandled, and Laney took over at the Eagles’ 46. The Bucs didn’t go far before the clock was about to tick off the final seconds. But with just 2 ticks left in the half, Laney pulled out what amounted to a flea-flicker that went for a 52-yard touchdown pass. The extra point put the Bucs up at halftime, 21-7.

East Bladen took the opening kickoff of the second half 54 yards using 15 play to the Laney 18, but a fumble gave the ball to the Buccaneers at their own 22.

From there, Laney used a 10-play, 78-yard march to find the end zone all but put the game out of reach. The point after gave the Bucs a 28-7 lead with 1:02 left in the third quarter.

After the Eagles’ next possession ended, Laney blocked the ensuing punt and took over on the East Bladen 20 early in the fourth quarter. The Bucs moved to the East Bladen 13 before settling for a 31-yard field goal tat gave them a 31-7 advantage.

East Bladen drove deep into Laney territory behind a 13-yard and 10-yard run by Xavier Wooten and 13-yard run by Robinson, but another eagles fumble gave the ball to the Bucs at the Laney 10 — ending any hope for an East Bladen rally.

“Nothing went well (for us) and nothing exciting happened on our end,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said. “We fumbled three times and lost all three — just can’t do that.”

Hines led the Eagles with 73 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, while Robinson added 60 yards on nine carries.