Eastern Wayne dropped its first game of the season during a tough 26-20 loss against Greene Central on Friday evening.
“There’s competition out there. No matter what, going week to week, we have to expect to play our best,” Eastern Wayne head coach Leander Oates said. “We cannot look at anybody’s record and expect them to lay down because we were undefeated and had a good thing going on, but that’s football.”
Both offenses struggled to move the ball during the first quarter, but Greene Central drove down to the Warriors’ four-yard line midway through the second quarter.
However, the Warriors’ defense did not break. The Rams could not get into the end zone and turned the ball over on downs.
“We some big fourth-down stops,” Oates said. ”Our guys stood tall and gave our offense some opportunities.”
The Warriors got the ball but turned it over on the second play of the drive, and two plays later, Jonathon Willis completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaydon Tyson to give Greene Central a 6-0 lead with two minutes left until halftime.
After another Eastern Wayne turnover on the ensuing kickoff, Greene Central got the ball back at the Warriors’ 39-yard line.
The Rams executed a five-play drive that Zyquan Williams capped off with a four-yard touchdown run.
With only 32 seconds left until halftime, it looked like Eastern Wayne would face a 14-0 hole heading into the second half, but ZaVion Burden returned the kickoff to Greene Central’s 19-yard line.
Two plays later, Trevor Warren threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Albert Brown, and after a successful two-point conversion, the Warriors were down 14-8 at halftime.
The third quarter was a scoreless affair, but toward the end of the third quarter, the Warriors recovered a Greene Central fumble, and the Warriors made sure to take advantage.
Starting at their own 11-yard line, the Warriors promptly marched down the field, but it looked like the drive would stall out at Greene Central’s 24-yard line.
On fourth down, Warren completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Zavian Oates, and the Warriors now had the chance to take the lead.
But on the extra point, the snap went over holder D’Andre Slapper’s head. Kicker Pablo Martinez recovered the ball, but Martinez was quickly tackled, so the score remained 14-14 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Greene Central wasted no time in retaking the lead when Willis broke loose for a 92-yard touchdown run.
“We gave up that long run, and that pretty much was the dagger because you look at points-wise, and that made a difference,” Oates said. “But we fought back, and we’re going to play all the way until the end.”
The Warriors turned the ball over downs during their next two drives, and with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Willis threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Tyson to give the Rams a 26-14 lead.
On the Warriors’ ensuing drive, C.J. Battle and Brown connected for a 24-yard touchdown, and Eastern Wayne made it a one-score game.
Only 58 seconds remained in the game, so the Warriors attempted an onside kick, but the Rams recovered it and drained the clock to get the win.
Eastern Wayne (3-1 overall) entertains Spring Creek (2-2) next Friday.
“We’re going to bounce back. They know I’m going to spend this weekend watching more film than college football because as the leader of this team, I have to make sure my guys come in prepared on Monday and have the right game plan going up against Spring Creek next week” Oates said.