The score tied 6-6 late in the third quarter. Eastern Wayne allowed the Saints to drive down the field and reach its 10-yard line.
On its first three chances, Southern Wayne was unable to get into the endzone, and on fourth down, Dowan Hodges Jr. intercepted Southern Wayne quarterback Paul Francis’ pass to end the third quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors tactically drove downfield, and Trevor Warren threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Battle to give the Warriors a 12-6 lead.
The Warriors’ defense held off the Saints to seal to victory over Southern Wayne on Thursday evening.
“We knew it was going to be a good game. Shout out to coach McClary (Southern Wayne head coach Ronnie McClary) because he works hard with those guys just like we do over here,” Eastern Wayne head coach Leander Oates said. “Hats off to my guys because they came back and fought.”
In the early stages of the game, both teams struggled to get in a groove. Southern Wayne fumbled and turned the ball over downs during its first two drives, while the Warriors turned the ball over on downs during their first two drives.
However, late in the first quarter, Southern Wayne put together an 11-play drive that ended with a touchdown.
Eastern Wayne turned the ball on downs on the ensuing drive, and the Saints capitalized by taking the ball down to the Warriors’ five-yard line.
The Saints’ drive stalled, and they were unable to find the endzone again, but Southern Wayne still had a 6-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Warriors mounted their comeback.
After the Warriors’ defense forced Southern Wayne to punt, Eastern Wayne got the ball at the Saints’ 26-yard line.
But three plays later, Warren and the Warriors’ offense were faced with third-and-long.
Seemingly unfazed, the Warriors’ signal-caller broke multiple tackles and ran down the field for the Warriors’ first score of the game.
“We as coaches got understand that Trevor is young, and under the lights of a varsity game, it’s a whole different world,” Oates said. “He settled down, and the running backs started to gain yards, and he feeds off the excitement.”
The Saints refused to go quietly as they promptly drove down the field, but Hodges intercepted Francis to end the third quarter.
Eastern Wayne took advantage of the opportunity. The Warriors took the lead on their ensuing drive and held off Southern Wayne to get their first win of the season.
“Hats off to our defense. Showing that kind of heart on the goal line and giving our offense a chance to capitalize set us up very well,” Oates said.
Eastern Wayne (1-2 overall, 1-1 ECC) travels to New Bern (1-1, 1-1) next Saturday, while Southern Wayne (0-2, 0-2) hosts C.B. Aycock (0-2, 0-2) on Monday.