Photo and article from Laieke Abebe
Errors on special teams and a sputtering offense led to Southern Wayne’s demise against East Wake in Quad County 3A Conference play on Tuesday evening.
The Saints went down 30-0 at halftime and could not recover in a 52-12 loss to the Warriors.
It hasn’t been the best return to action for Ronnie McClary’s squad after going three weeks without playing a game due to COVID-19 concerns within the program.
“We’ve got to play every minute of all four quarters,” McClary said. “When we do that, we play pretty good and when we don’t, we don’t play good. We can make excuses about the long lay-off and quick turnaround, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to play.”
After going three and out on the first possession, the Warriors (3-3 overall, 2-1 QCC) blocked Daylan Kornegay’s punt and set themselves up inside the Saints 15. Deaunti Lucas would cash in with a four-yard rushing touchdown putting Southern Wayne down 6-0.
The Saints (1-4, 0-2) would fumble and turn the ball over on downs on their next two drives. East Wake would add to its lead with a Michael Perry touchdown pass to R.J. Vick.
Although they dug themselves a deep hole, the Saints started to get back in the game in the third quarter. After forcing a punt, Joshua Kearney found Tyquavious Williams for a 36-yard score to get on the board.
The Saints would force another three-and-out and Kearney would find Kornegay for a 32-yard score. The junior wide receiver stole what looked like a sure interception from an East Wake defensive back and ran it into the end zone.
However, the Saints would run out of gas allowing 22 unanswered points to close out the contest. Although the Warriors put up a lot of points, the Southern Wayne defense was in position to get off the field multiple times, but they were unable to do so.
“The defense had to work twice as hard because they were defending short fields in the first half,” McClary added. “Our special teams and offense have to set the tone early in games if we want to be successful in our remaining games. It doesn’t get any easier with a quick turnaround against another quality opponent.”
Southern Wayne travels to South Johnston Friday for what will be the Saints’ third game in eight days.