• Kurt Ward

Eastern Alamance Takes Advantage of Western Miscues for 41-20 Win

MEBANE – Oftentimes, if you take away two or three plays, then the outcome of a football game would be much different.

Such was the case Friday night, as Eastern Alamance capitalized on some Western Alamance mistakes to secure a 41-20 Central Carolina 3-A Conference victory.

Coaches on both teams agreed the game was much closer than the 41-20 score indicated.

“It’s a rivalry game; it’s like Carolina-Duke. Every time you play those guys you can throw out the records and know you are in for a good game,” Eastern offensive coordinator Will Walker said.

Walker’s offense scored on six of its eight possessions and jumped out to a 14-0 lead early thanks to two Western turnovers.

The first of those turnovers came on the opening kickoff, as Western’s Keontae Poteat fumbled on his return attempt. Eastern’s Kedrick Rogers pounced on the loose ball, and the Eagles scored two plays later with Kasen McCawley pulling in the first of three receiving TDs from quarterback Hunter Douglas.

The second lost fumble came early in the second quarter, as Western quarterback Eric Wagoner passed to Jackson Snyder on the left sideline. An Eastern defender hit Snyder right after the ball arrived, and the ball popped free. The official ruled the play as a completed catch and fumble despite Snyder’s plea that he never had possession.

Eastern scored six plays later to pull ahead 14-0.

“I’m so proud of how our guys battled,” Western coach Jeff Snuffer said, explaining that some teams may have given up after the early miscues and deficit. “The guys didn’t quit. They kept battling. If you learn how to battle in these situations, then you learn how to battle in life.”

On the next series, Western pieced together a 21-play drive that consumed more than eight-and-a-half minutes of clock. The drive was aided by two Eastern Alamance pass interference penalties.

The Warriors pulled to within seven, 14-7, when Wagoner hit Kaden Wilborn for a five-yard TD on fourth and goal from the five with 1:33 left in the first half.

Eastern then reclaimed the momentum before the intermission, going 68 yards in a minute and a half.

Facing a fourth-and-12 with the ball on the 22-yard line, Eastern called a time out.

On the ensuing play, Douglas fired a bullet of a pass to a sprinting McCawley near the end zone. McCawley snatched the ball in stride to score with four seconds on the second-quarter clock.

“Kasen (McCawley)’s a gamer,” Eastern head coach John Kirby said. “He’s a competitor. He hates to lose. During the time out before that play, he said, ‘Give it to me. Give it to me, and I’ll make a play.’ Hunter (Douglas) threw a dart, and he made the catch. In many ways that play is the difference in this football game.”

The TD, along with the point after kick by Karsyn Johnson, put the Eagles up 21-7 at the half.

McCawley finished the night with three catches, all three of which went for TDs. He scored on catches of 28, 22 and 35 yards.

On the night, Douglas completed 13 of his 20 passes for 190 yards.

Offensively, the two teams were evenly matched. Eastern finished with 338 yards of total offense, compared to 322 by Western.

Western moved the ball consistently with quick, short passes from Wagoner to eight different receivers. Wagoner completed 28 of his 36 passes for 228 yards. Ty Belles also completed a halfback pass for the Warriors.

“We tried to disrupt them by applying pressure,” Kirby said. “Their quarterback (Wagoner) did a good job of getting the ball out of his hands and hitting his target. It looked like their receivers caught everything he threw at them.”

Wilborn and Mason Hogsed were the leaders among the Warrior receiving corps.

Wilborn finished with seven receptions for 101 yards and two TDs. Hogsed finished the night with 11 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.

The Eastern offense was more balanced than that of Western. The Eastern Eagles finished with 148 yards rushing and 190 yards passing. In addition to the Douglas to McCawley combination, the Eastern offense also moved the ball on the ground with sophomore Josh Murray. Murray had 14 carries for 120 yards.

With the victory, Eastern moves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference. Next Friday, they will face their former defensive coordinator Patrick Stokes as they travel to Williams. Stokes is now the head coach for the Williams Bulldogs.

Western slips to 1-4 and 1-1. The Warriors are off this coming week, giving them two weeks to prepare for a trip to Bartlett-Yancey.

WA 0 7 7 6 - 20

EA 7 14 14 6 - 41

Eastern – Kasen McCawley 28-yard pass from Hunter Douglas (Karsyn Johnson kick), 11:12 left in the first quarter

Eastern – Devin Clark 16-yard pass from Douglas (Johnson kick), 10:08 left in the second quarter

Western – Kaden Wilborn 5-yard pass from Eric Wagoner (Jacob Carter kick), 1:33 left in the second quarter

Eastern – McCawley 22-yard pass from Douglas (Johnson kick), :04 left in the second quarter

Eastern – McCawley 35-yard pass from Douglas (Johnson kick), 9:19 left in the third quarter

Eastern – Josh Murray 9-yard run (Johnson kick), 3:22 left in the third quarter

Western – Wilborn 21-yard pass from Wagoner (Carter kick), 1:27 left in the third quarter

Eastern – Cedarion Williams 12-yard run (kick failed), 11:53 left in the fourth quarter

Western – Mason Hogsed 24-yard pass from Wagoner (kick failed), 5:17 left in the fourth quarter

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